What you need to know:
- Weatherhead Historicals, incensed by proceedings in their league meeting with Wananchi last Saturday, wrote almost 48 hours later explaining their decision to pull out of the competition was in order to “put our safety first.”
Wananchi men should be a shoo-in for the finals of the inaugural Uganda Cup that are due on November 6 but are ready for any decision following a letter from their opponents pulling out of the tournament.
Weatherhead Historicals, incensed by proceedings in their league meeting with Wananchi last Saturday, wrote almost 48 hours later explaining their decision to pull out of the competition was in order to “put our safety first.”
“Wananchi players deliberately injured two of our players resulting in one being taken to a healthcare facility,” Weatherhead chairman Jjuuko Kwagala wrote to Uganda Hockey Association (UHA).
The letter also claimed that their players got no protection from the umpires as Collines Batusa deliberately hit Vincent Kasasa but was only booked for what they felt warranted a sending off.
Weatherhead also claimed that Andrew Lubega hit a high ball deliberately to the chest of Gerald Ssessaazi but was not penalised at all.
It remains to be seen if Historicals will not play Wananchi ever again as the letter quotes an unnamed player advising the club thus: “Safety first, I was not there but I know how the Wananchi can be. We play this sport for fitness and love for the game, let’s put our safety first.”
The team arrived to a 6-1 vote in a meeting to pull out of the competition.
But after conceding a total of 23 goals and scoring just once against Wananchi in two league matches this season, Historicals might as well have been seeking safety from another cricket score.
After all, their club’s main men’s team Weatherhead is competing – against Kampala Hockey Club Stallions in the other men’s semis – to find the same ‘hard hitting’ Wananchi in the finals.
The main team, however, hold a better head-to-head record (4-2 win and a 2-2 draw) over Wananchi and are fresh from a 4-1 win over Stallions that will boost their confidence going into this weekend’s double-header.
Also, Weatherhead play Wananchi in the women’s semis so the latter will be happy to note that the “rough play” reputation does not precede the entire club.
“We’re ready for anything but we’ll not be drawn into Weatherhead’s politics because we just want to play. Jjuuko and Kasasa provoked the players on pitch and the players decided to protect themselves. There is nothing more to that.
“We await the decision from the UHA organising secretary on whether we have a bye into the finals, or their (Historicals) first round opponent (Makerere Stingers) will be reinstated, or even them (Historicals) returning,” Wananchi team manager and chairman Joshua Opolot told SCORE.
Elsewhere, KHC Swans and Deliverance Church meet in the other women’s semifinal.
Hockey Uganda Cup
TODAY | SEMIFINALS FIRST LEG
W: DCU vs. KHC Swans 10am
W: Wananchi vs. Weatherhead 2pm
M: Stallions vs. Weatherhead 4pm
SUNDAY - SECOND LEG
M: Weatherhead vs. Stallions 10am
W: Weatherhead vs. Wananchi 12pm
W: KHC Swans vs. DCU 4pm