DCU on the brink of ending Wananchi dominance

Friends turned rivals. Winnie Alaro (L) and Peace Anyango have not given each other a moment's peace on pitch since the former left Wananchi for DCU. PHOTO/ ISMAIL KEZAALA 

What you need to know:

DCU failed and had to wait till 2015 to get a look in. At that point, you would be forgiven for laughing at this new side and their ambition.

It feels like ages ago when Uganda Hockey Association (UHA) tossed Deliverance Church of Uganda (DCU) around for paperwork to get admitted to the National League in 2014.

DCU failed and had to wait till 2015 to get a look in. At that point, you would be forgiven for laughing at this new side and their ambition.

After all, a new dynasty had been built by Wananchi. Young players, most of primary school going age, were about to take the league by storm – playing an expansive and expressive brand of hockey never seen before in Lugogo.

For the next six seasons, Wananchi steered by coach Innocent Mbabali and lately – after Covid-19 lockdowns – Martin Okello and Chris Otim, won the league.

DCU struggled in the lower half of the table for half that time and finished as bridesmaid to Wananchi’s coronation for the last three seasons.

This year, they seem to have tipped the balance. Wananchi has lost their star Doreen Asiimwe to the paying ranks in Italy while national team captain Norah Alum has been unavailable for long periods this season for personal reasons.

Wananchi have been falling apart piece by piece for seasons now that they needed goalkeeper Sylvia Giramia to play as an outfield player this term. DCU have been part of the beneficiaries of that unrest as they signed Alum’s sister and defender Winnie Alaro at the tail end of last season.

On the brink

Alaro, now on the brink of her seventh league title, and her other sister Lucky Akello have been the rocks that have led DCU to an unbeaten run of 10 games in the 12-match league thus far.

Akello scored from a well worked penalty corner routine with her sister then turned provider for Judith Topachu at the death to earn her side a deserved 2-0 win over Wananchi at Lugogo on Saturday.

“She (Akello) has been exceptional in getting the important goals but above all, the team and our excellent coach had a positive mindset and vibe that this would be our year,” Alaro said.

The result more than set up DCU for a maiden Uganda Baati Hockey League title as they are now top the table with 28 points. Wananchi have one game to play and are trailing on 25 points.

On current form DCU bank on themselves to do more than just enough to hold up. It has not been the most dominant of runs to the title but it has been done with almost surgical care under the guidance of coach James Akweri, who took over from William Oketcha and Lawrence Kakande last season.

Wananchi have scored more goals (63 against 43), conceded less (six against nine), had more penalty corners (65 against 50) and have the leading scorer (Doreen Mbabazi with 21 against Akello’s 10) but they have lost two matches and DCU has not.

DCU also have the better disciplinary record with no red, just one yellow and 12 green cards as compared to Wananchi’s one red, four yellows and seven green cards.


UGANDA BAATI HOCKEY LEAGUE

WOMEN’S TABLE

TEAM                                      P          W        D          L          F          A          PTS
Deliverance Church                10        9          1          0          43        9          28

Wananchi                                11        8          1          2          63        6          25

KHC Swans                              11        7          1          3          31        16        22

Weatherhead                          9          4          1          4          24        28        13

Weatherhead Historicals        9          2          1          6          17        23        7         

Wananchi HDF                        9          1          1          7          5          43        4

Makerere University               11        0          2          9          4          62        2



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