KAMPALA- Weatherhead are new National Hockey League (NHL) champions after winning an appeal against Kampala Hockey Club (KHC) Stallions' use of Samuel ‘Webo’ Wakhisi.
Prior to the past weekend’s games, KHC on 31 points seemed to have the destiny of the league in their hands or so they thought. All they needed was to win their last two encounters to win their maiden title.
Instead information that Daily Monitor can confirm is true even though there is no official communication yet, trickled in on Friday night –ahead of their win or burst tie with Wananchi the next day – that KHC had been docked three points and five goals, by Uganda Hockey Association (UHA), for fielding Webo in their 1-0 third round win over Weatherhead on September 16.
Basing on Article 5i. of the NHL rules reads: “It should be noted that no player participating in any other National League in 2017 for any team under the auspices of the AfHF will be eligible to participate in the UHA NHL 2017, Weatherhead argued Webo was inelegible to join the addition KHC's ranks during the half season transfer window.”
Webo had played for Kenya’s Chase Sailors earlier the year before coming west.
KHC argued Webo was not participating in two leagues as he had terminated his association with Chase on August 13 and that the move had been endorsed by UHA general secretary Phillip Wafula on September 1.
Wafula was surprisingly missing in action on Friday in a meeting where neither KHC nor Weatherhead were given a chance to argue their cases.
For nearly three months, the issue remained unresolved till UHA swung it Weatherhead’s way on the eve of KHC’s most important game in the last eight years. The demoralized and 'dead' KHC Stallions were consequently flogged 2-6 the next day by Wananchi (35 points) and now lie third with 28 points.
Weatherhead, who had jumped from 30 to 33points on Friday night moved to 36 on Sunday after beating Simba 2-5.
“The (league) committee which comprises of all club leaders took forever to handle Webo’s case yet we were under pressure from all clubs to resolve it before the league ends. We then recalled it to the (UHA) executive committee and KHC were at fault for using an ingeligible player,” UHA chairperson Lydia Dhamuzungu, told Daily Monitor.
Dhamuzungu, who plays for Weatherhead's ladies' team, also ironically accused Saddam Hussein, a Stallion and competitions secretary of UHA, of not declaring his conflict of interest when Weatherhead sent their petition.
However, it is not the first time Weatherhead have required UHA's intervention to win a title.
In 2014, when all Wananchi Ladies needed was to beat Weatherhead to win the title, Fatuma Namubiru, then UHA treasurer saw to it that her team got a walkover before kick-off as Wananchi were yet to clear league fees.
W: DCU 2-0 Weatherhad
M: KHC Stallions 2-6 Wananchi
W: Wananchi vs. KHC Swans
*Wananchi awarded a walkover of three points, five goals
M: Simba 2-5 Weatherhead