Saturday March 26 2016

Clubs shoulder burden to rebuild schools hockey

Kakungulu girls celebrate achieving a

Kakungulu girls celebrate achieving a three-peat at the Pepsi-KHC Schools Festival. PHOTO BY JB SSENKUBUGE 


KAMPALA. There were no shocks as Kakungulu Memorial School teams (both girls and boys) won the third edition of the Kampala Hockey Club (KHC) Schools’ Festival, last Saturday.
With the school providing six girls and three boys to KHC, it has become the club’s talent hub but this contribution has come at a price. Not only for KHC but for the club community at large, who must send coaches to schools, to guide the recruiting process.
Unfortunately, the schools seem resigned to letting clubs shoulder the burden. The only embellishments this year are Kawempe School and Old Kampala SS which have just joined the sport.

Apart from Kakungulu, who offer bursaries for players, investment in hockey has taken a tumble in most schools.
There is no hope of having the Mt. St. Mary’s College Namagunga Open after it was cancelled last year. St. Mary’s College followed suit calling off their Open early this month and skipping the KHC festival.
“Namilyango can’t say they want to play hockey yet they have only 10 sticks and no keeper’s pad,” Kawalya remarked as he tore into the school for not investing in the sport last year.
City High and Kololo SS have lost their standing in the game, their proximity to Lugogo notwithstanding. Nabumali in the East has also struggled to keep the sport running.

Yet schools continue to demand results from coaches and players during the national and regional tournaments.
This has had reversed the aim of KHC’s Club Schools Program (CSL), one aimed at establishing a strong connection between the club and various schools.
The festival is currently the only competition for schools, a far cry from the celebration inaugurators planned, to take stock of their annual achievements in schools.