Experience to the fore as woodball WC squad takes shape

Jackie Naula has played her way into national team contention. PHOTO/GEORGE KATONGOLE 

What you need to know:

The next trials will be held in April before the selected players start team training.

An old broom knows the corners, so they say. For the national woodball team preparing for the third edition of the Beach World Cup in Malaysia, there lies the truth. The World Cup will take place between July 26-31 in Pahang Malaysia.

The first of the two trials was held on Saturday at Bunjakko Beach in Mpigi District with experienced national team players taking an early lead.

Of the 43 players to undergo mandatory trials, 10 (five per gender) will be picked to represent Uganda at the World Cup which was last held in Entebbe in 2009. The other two places are automatically taken by last year’s MVPs Joyce Nalubega and Thomas Kedi.

The tension of the lottery was easy for Ronald Mulindwa, who is in charge with 173 strokes he registered from 48 gates. The Mubs Masters student is hotly pursued by teammate Robert Mutiibwa (178) and evergreen beach player Israel Muwanguzi (179). University of Kisubi’s Michael Muwanguzi is the surprise name among the leaders as well as Moses Agaba of KIU, who returns after a sabbatical.

Mutiibwa, who has been knocking on the national team for a while is thrilled.

“There is one more hurdle and I will face it with hope that I will be on the final team. It’s about holding the nerves,” said Mutiibwa.

The next trials will be held in April before the selected players start team training.

Mukoova back at it

Joan Mukoova, who missed the early rounds of the woodball calendar, including the first beach circuit at Bunjakko, is leading the women with 179 for the available five spots. The sixth has been given to last year’s MVP Joyce Nalubega.

Christine Birungi and Ministry of Public Service teammate Jackie Naula are in contention as well as Florence Mukoya, who missed most of last season in maternity. It could have been obvious for the hungry young players but Lillian Zawedde has sent reminders to the newbies that she is still around.

“I have been to the World Cup numerous times and I know experience matters. I still have one more round to justify my selection but I think I have done enough today to be in the national team,” said Zawedde, who is occupying the last qualifying position.

Her position is threatened by the trio of Pauline Nakayenga, Mary Athieno and in-form Babirye Nalwoga, who are three, four and five strokes behind.

Regular campaigners Sandra Nabaggala and Sophie Namuddu are off the mark and need a miracle to upstage the leaders.


National team trials standings


Ronald Mulindwa (Mubs) – 173

Robert Mutiibwa (Mubs) – 178

Israel Muwanguzi (Eminents) – 179

Michael Musaazi (UNIK) – 182

Moses Agaba (KIU) – 183


Joan Mukoova (Eminents) – 179

Christine Birungi (MoPS) – 188

Florence Mukoya (Mubs) – 195

Jackie Naula (MoPS) – 195

Lillian Zawedde (NCWC) – 204