International spotlight shines on Uganda Kabaddi

Olivia Nalubega is restrained from scoring a raid point by the Kenyan team . Photo / George Katongole

What you need to know:

  • There are eight Indian teams and two foreign teams that will descend on Haryana State between December 1-16 to showcase their skill and a chance to be auctioned for the Pro-Kabaddi League next season.

With Uganda expected to leave for India tomorrow ahead of the Just Kabaddi League (JKL) Season 10, excitement is building around the Ugandan players expected to join the party.

There are eight Indian teams and two foreign teams that will descend on Haryana State between December 1-16 to showcase their skill and a chance to be auctioned for the Pro-Kabaddi League next season.

The season was originally supposed to be held in 2020 but was cancelled due to the covid-19 pandemic.

According to Edgar Mujuni, the chief executive of the Uganda Kabaddi Federation, Uganda was chosen as one of the best contenders from Africa after Kenya. The role of the JKL in bringing the sport and the players into the limelight. JKL season 10 has scaled new heights bringing two foreign teams.

“The JKL is offering players to show talent against the best players from top teams in India,” Mujuni said.

“It will require patience since the league is still in its early years. But I’m convinced that the explosion in the sport’s international popularity is just waiting to happen,” he added.

Chance to impress
JKL chief executive Sohanlal Tusir said the platform is helping to support players around the world to build their CVs.

For Ugandan players, this is just the fourth international engagement after the Junior Kabaddi World Cup 2019 in Iran. For most of the time, the hard-working girls and boys have been playing from underground only going to the Africa World Cup qualifiers in Kenya this year.

All-rounder Douglas Mulaalira said they can vouch for the opportunity but will remain patient.

“We have achieved recognition in Uganda because of hard work and lots of practice. But now we have a chance to test our skills and techniques among the best,” Mulaliira said.

Mulaalira, a student at Mulusa Academy has been one of the best success stories of Kabaddi in Uganda. Since he burst onto the scene in Senior Three, the former midfielder in the school team has been a mainstay on the national team as a utility player.

Like the rest of his teammates, most players selected for the national team hail from humble backgrounds and have to put in years of hard work to make a name for themselves.

Olivia Nalubega is no different and as it turns out, she has had to balance between school and the sport.
“I took the decision to play kabaddi as I saw it as an opportunity to play for the national team,” Nalubega said.

Rusty
The JKL action which returns after two years will be a tall ordeal for the athletes to shed off the rustiness. They will be coming into the tournament with very little training.

Uganda coach Ephraim Makubuya says his players have been training for this moment from Matugga.

“This is a big opportunity for the players and everyone has been working extra hard for this chance,” Makubuya said.

Team Uganda is sponsored by Airtel Uganda, Bank of Baroda, Tata, Abacus, Indian High Commission, Hell Energy Drink and the National Council of Sports (NCS).

TEAM UGANDA

MEN: Douglas Mulalira, Shafic Katamba, Isaac Kiragga, Jimmy Ssengendo, Joel Machari, Frank Kamoga, Abbey Kiwalabye, Pius Musungu.

WOMEN: Lynette Kayaga, Shamillah Nakamya, Nabillah Nakigudde and Mellon Amviko, Olivia Nalubega, Sarah Nampenja, Shanitah Najjemba.

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