Uganda’s women fall in hockey Afcon bow

Promising. Akello (right) was one of Uganda’s most industrious player in the defeat to Namibia on January 17. PHOTO/MAKHTUM MUZIRANSA

What you need to know:

  • Even after this, Uganda kept pushing forward till Taramarie Myburgh put the game beyond reach in the 56th minute.

Uganda’s debut at the women’s hockey Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) at Theodosia Odoh Stadium in Accra, Ghana, might have ended in a 3-0 defeat to Namibia yesterday but the result flattered winners on the bright sunny morning in the coastal city.

Uganda had the display to match the occasion as Lucky Akello and Teopista Anyango wreaked havoc from the left wing and midfield in the first half.

Over the last three months, coaches Francesco Richichi and Moses Nsereko look to have transformed a team that looked not ready to be at the stage when they lost to Kenya at the FIH Series in March by a combined score of 22-0 in three games.

The coaches seemed to get it right as Lamula Nakajjumba, who played as a forward in the Nairobi humiliation, joined Winnie Alaro and Consolate Muber in defence.

The midfield of Doreen Asiimwe and Margaret Nassiwa was strengthened with Norah Alum and Peace Anyango. While the attack looked industrious with Akello and Joy Serunjogi joining Doreen Mbabazi.

Akello and Anyango, new faces in the squad, added spice to the little colour Asiimwe and Muber offered in Kenya then.

What is clearly still needed, as the side counter Zimbabwe today, is the finishing to compliment the newfound creativity.

“For 30 minutes, I saw the best of Ugandan hockey,” Richichi said post-match.

“But when we took off Asiimwe due to an injury (the ball hit and cut her lower lip), the players lost a bit of a confidence because their best colleague was not on the field.” 

Utilising chances
Uganda had made changes after the break with Muber moving to lower midfield and Namibia won the short corner against the run of play in the 40th minute and Anthea Coetzee dragged it past an unmarked right post for the opener after a goalless first half.

As Uganda chased an equaliser, Sascha Brinkmann made it 2-0 from a well-worked counter attack down the right in the 42nd minute as the southern Africa side ended the third quarter with a comfortable lead.
Even after this, Uganda kept pushing forward till Taramarie Myburgh put the game beyond reach in the 56th minute.

“We didn’t know what to expect but maybe it was nerves because we started well then we were overwhelmed by the speed and strength of the Uganda ladies,” Namibia coach Melissa Gillies, said.

Hockey Africa Cup finals

January 17 results 
W: Namibia     3-0     Uganda
M: Ghana    1 - 1    Uganda

W: Zimbabwe     vs.     Uganda    10am
M: Nigeria     vs.     Uganda    4pm


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