Hockey players relish indoor experience

Tussling it out. Ankara's Emmanuel Baguma (L) and Sydney's Philemon Ndyamuhaki vie for the ball. PHOTO/ MAKHTUM MUZIRANSA 

Hockey players made the most of an opportunity to play indoor at last Sunday's Makerere Stingers Tournament held at Fusion Sports Arena, Bugolobi.

It was a parked arena and first the players needed to beat the attraction of other sports being played in close proximity to excel in the task at hand.

The players that usually represent for Makerere University's men (Stingers) and women (Eagles) in the National Hockey League split themselves into eight teams and invited friends from their rival clubs Kampala, Wananchi and Weatherhead to join at least one of the teams.

Each team could only field five players and at least one woman in the 12 minute games.

The players did not disappoint as they played at full pelt demanding physicality and athleticism from each other.

Their coaches Dulf Musoke and Moses Nsereko lined up for Amsterdam and Sydney respectively but they were showed no mercy as they lost all their games.

Skills on show 

The skill-sets deferred but those with handy sticky work like teammates Doreen Asiimwe and Joy Serunjogi among the women plus Jordan Mpiima, Stewart Kavuma and Emmanuel Baguma among the men shone brightest.

But Maurice Luwaga, who played for Brisbane, was voted player of the tournament thanks in part to how he linked up with teammate Richard Kaijuka. 

The latter was good at using the ball to bounce balls of to teammates and in space. He, his brother Baguma and Asiimwe clearly borrowed from their 5-aside experience with the U-19 national team in Nairobi in 2018.

But it was clearly a morning that demanded for good handles and composure to execute in very limited space.

Sarah Arinaitwe was the women's top scorer with three goals - a good consolation for her side Canberra's 4-3 loss to Melbourne in the finals.

Road to gold

Feeding off passes from Harold Ntale, Arinaitwe and Mpiima made a late scoring rally after their side had quickly gone down 4-0 in the final but time ran out for them at 4-3.

Asiimwe, Serunjogi and Graham Mawejje (2) scored for gold medallists Melbourne.

There were warning signs for Canberra's defence in the group stages. Even though they won all group matches, they conceded nine goals overall and at least two in each match plus they had to come from 2-0 down to beat Kavuma's Copenhagen in the final group tie.

Melbourne on the other hand, let in only six in the groups but had also mastered the goal difference games having pipped Baguma's Ankara and Brisbane to the final after they all had six group points.



Finals: Melbourne (Purple) 4-3 Canberra (Black) 

Group A: Canberra topped Group A with maximum nine points

Group B: Melbourne edged Ankara (Green) and Brisbane (Red) on goal difference to make the finals after all had six points at the group stage