Passion. Hope. Glory. All three will come into play on Saturday at Maria Goretti Katende School in Mpigi when the ICPAU Junior Woodball Championship is held.
The junior championship, which has grown immensely over the years, is the benchmark for future players who dream to play for the national team and the stakes will be even higher this year.
Lyiora Asasira, Idris Neteese, Esther Chebet, Annet Nabwire and Martha Namulema give Mpoma School an upper hand in their title defence in the girls' category.
The squad was excellent during the Women’s Day woodball championship lifting gold in the youth category while they came out smelling the roses in the Mukono qualifiers where they dominated the podium.
Saturday will show how far they have progressed since March.
But Airforce SS Entebbe will unleash Amina Nalujja while Martha Kisakye will defend her pride at home.
Kisakye is a student of the host school and playing before her fellow students will offer a psychological boost.
The contest will be made unpredictable by Bukalabi SS, who have most of the players under Bonna Baana, a national league outfit.
20 schools each from primary and secondary levels will compete at the national event which has been held since 2010.
The boys' battle will be between defending champions Luzira and spiced by Airforce, Our Lady of Africa Namilyango and The Amazima School.
To enable proper preparations, the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) donated Shs15m to the organisers as an appreciation.
"We appreciate the role sports is playing in modelling responsible students. As ICPAU, we value this partnership as the tournament has been growing immensely," Julian Namale Muweesi, the Head of Stakeholder Engagement at the institute, said during a ceremony at the woodball head offices in Nakulabye.
Since 2010 when the championship started with 56 participants, the juniors have increased tremendously with a record 1,160 taking part in the 2018 edition before qualifiers were introduced. This year, 400 students will participate after regional qualifiers that were held between February and April.
Paul Mark Kayongo, the president of the Uganda Woodball Federation (UWbF) stressed the role of schools in developing the sport.
"We made a deliberate effort to grow this young sport through schools and universities. This juniors championship is important in preparing athletes for bigger assignments in future while helping the sport grow from the grassroots," Kayongo said.
Primary: Ahmadiyya, Bukalabi, Embrace Kulture, Friends International Academy, Gayaza Junior, Ikrah Education Centre, Kabaseegu, Kazo Mixed, Kirinnya Inclusive, Kiwafu Muslim, Kyazanga Modern, Luyembe, Lwentale, Magoma RC. Motherwell, Nakateete, Nalugala Muslim, Ssanga, St Mary’s Kitooro and St Francis Buddo.
Secondary: Airforce, Entebbe Comprehensive, Imran, Johnhill, Kaasangombe, Kazo, Kijjabweni, Luzira, Mengo, Mityana, Mpoma, Nakateete, Our Lady of Africa Namilyango, Pope John Paul, Sseke, St Maria Goretti Katende, St Joseph’s Naggalama, St Mark Namagoma, The Amazima School & Trinity College Nabbingo.
ICPAU Junior Woodball
Venue: St Maria Gorreti Katende
Date: 25 June, 2022