Wednesday morning’s lake winds that shook up White Sand Beach, Entebbe, and sent volleyball players scampering to seek respite in bonfires might have carried with it many kinds of fortunes but for Team Uganda, it only cast favourable spell.
From the winds and showers emerged a Ugandan side bristling with so much confidence that both of its teams beat Zimbabwe 2-1 to rekindle their hopes of progressing in Africa Olympic qualifiers.
For a team that looked jaded after defeats on the opening day left them hanging on hope and prayer, the flashes of sunshine after the rainy, windy and misty morning conditions could only have brought good omens.
And Uganda duly ceased it. And Zimbabwe faced the wrath of a game of destiny. For Uganda, that destiny lay in the Olympic dream.
Uganda had a tough Day One losing to both Mozambique and Guinea Conakry in the second round qualifiers of Group D’s Continental Cup that climaxes today at White Sands Beach, Entebbe.
The opening day ended with Uganda on eight points – one ahead of Egypt who had played just one game, and three ahead of Zimbabwe. Guinea and Mozambique had 12 and 14 points, respectively.
Day Two started with a morning storm holding the highly anticipated encounter between Egypt and Guinea by over two hours. The cold was so unbearable that the players from all five participating countries had to camp around fires.
When the game started shortly before midday, the strong waves from the lake kept playing spoiler as they pushed water to the court – in fact, the warm-up court was submerged in water for the whole day.
Sun casts the spell on Uganda
Guinea’s best team, which won two golden sets against Zimbabwe and Uganda yesterday, started well, taking the first set 21-17 but ran out of steam as Egypt Two rallied back to win the second 21-11 and the decisive set 15-13.
Egypt’s main team then whitewashed Guinea’s second 21-8, 21-12 to settle the tie.
When Uganda entered the court, the sun rays had started to flourish and boy did they ignite the team. Zimbabwe One took set one off Uganda Two’s Joan Nabbuto and Aisha Kagoya but they went down fighting 21-23.
In the second set Uganda were much improved taking it 21-11 before owning the decider 15-6.
Uganda One’s Peace Busingye and Margaret Namyalo built on the same momentum to take set one 21-15 off Zimbabwe Two.
But there was a scare of a golden set as they lost set two 20-22. Instead, they rallied to win their decisive set 15-10 to avoid golden set pressures.
By press time, Uganda were sitting a little pretty in third place with 14 points – two more than Mozambique, who have two crunch games against Zimbabwe and Guinea today.
Guinea had 17. Zimbabwe had 11 and were due to play an Egyptian side that had a chance of completing the day on top of the log with 18 points. Uganda have their fate in their hands when they play Egypt today.
Volleyball cup group D
Egypt Two 2-1 Guinea One (17-21, 21-11, 15-13)
Egypt One 2-0 Guinea Two (21-8, 21-12)
Uganda Two 2-1 Zim One (21-23, 21-11, 15-6)
Uganda One 2-1 Zim Two (21-15, 20-22, 15-10)
Uganda vs Egypt