Credit: Thomas Odongo
Early in August 2020, Uganda local hockey governing body, Uganda Hockey Association (UHA) announced the cancellation of the 2020 National Hockey League due to the continued ban on sports.
By press time, sports in Uganda was still on a halt as a government directive to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, which is believed to spread more in crowd pulling events or in places like sports events, bars, music concerts, worship centers, marathons, schools and the like.
This year’s hockey league was set to start in mid March but with less than a week to kickoff, a partial lockdown was imposed by government following a pandemic scare then. Initially, hoping for the return of competitive play, UHA had reduced the number of league rounds from four to three, in consideration of the addition of teams.
The association was also ably considering all options of having the league played to considerable lengths as and when the lockdown is lifted. This was in constant consultation with its stakeholders. However, with the final quarter of the year approaching and zero assurance of returning to the pitch, UHA decided to throw in the towel and cancel the league.
The association has now set sight on four new alternative products they will focus on once the noose on sports is loosened, that is;
- The Uganda Cup:
This shall be open to all clubs/teams/institutions registered under the association, both men and women.
Uganda Cup will be a one-leg knock-out competition played over a minimum two(2) months period. The event shall be held at the National Hockey Stadium in Lugogo, Kampala.
- The East Africa Championships:
Uganda Hockey is reportedly in advanced discussions with the neighboring Kenya and Tanzania hockey administrators to revive the East Africa championships.
The event is played in 4 age-group categories: U16, U19, U21 and the senior teams (both men and women).
Once it kicks off, going forward, this will be an annual event and hosting it will be rotational.
- Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers:
Uganda Hockey continues to prepare for the Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers slated
for January 2021 in Nairobi, Kenya.
- Online Workshops:
Uganda Hockey shall carry on with several online capacity building workshops and trainings until that time that physical interactions shall be possible.
The recent online workshops held are; the DNSS (Development of National Structures and Systems) Project Courses and FIH (Federation of International Hockey) Academy courses. Uganda Hockey further encourages the fraternity to stay safe while observing the Ministry of Health (MoH) guidelines in regard to the prevention of the spread of COVID-19.