Hockey has lessons for all sports leaders

Monday March 22 2021

Innocent Ndawula

By Innocent Ndawula

The back pages of dailies all over the world are a sacred place for athletes and not administrators. Whereas many editorial policies insist on the same, nothing is cast in stone. Many times the bizarre yet avoidable fights of our ‘glory-seeking’ leaders take up the few column inches.

Our sports administrators love a fight thanks to their big egos and yet, like Mark Twain opined, it’s never the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog that matters.

Boxing have had their fair bit of wicked mischief and so have cycling and hockey. Sam ‘Mahaba’ Muwonge still runs the cycling association as a briefcase organisation but Moses Muhangi and Lydia Dhamuzungu have brought a bit of semblance to their folds.

The fruits are there for all to see as boxing will have a three-man representative at the July 23 - August 8 Olympics. 

For hockey, it has been a story that can leave even the hard-nosed faithful teary. Funding is one thing and then focus from their leaders is another.

The strife with the National Council of Sports (NCS) over the astro-turf pitch in Lugogo was ill-advised. It was a case of biting the arm that fed them. NCS collect some revenue from the pitch like any other infrastructure under their management in Lugogo and it is that money that they pool together and help fund some sports programmes.


Otherwise what case does one make for a 14-year absence from the international fold? Even when normalcy looked like it would return under Dunstan Kamunvi Nsubuga, there was a disbandment of the national team. There was no money.

But with Dhamuzungu and general secretary Phillip Wafula willing to get their hands dirty, things are slowly taking shape. The first signs of sparkle were in 2019 during a national camp meant for the Olympic and Africa Cup qualifiers. 

An impressed coach Francesco Richichi worked his contacts and already Innocent Mbabali, Emmanuel Baguma and Colline Batusa are enjoying semi-professional time in Italy. They are following in the steps of enterprising striker Derrick Akuwa, who pushed his way into Netherlands back in the day.

The trip to Nairobi for the just concluded FIH Bi-Nation Series has proved that hockey can learn how to walk again.