Ashraf Tumwesigye’s return inspired Weatherhead to a 4-2 win over champions Wananchi in the National Hockey League at Lugogo on Sunday.
The midfielder missed Weatherhead’s last four matches and his display on Sunday showed why he is now his side’s main man as they drew level on 15 points with Wananchi after six games.
Wananchi went ahead through Emmanuel Baguma’s backhand in the second minute and held on for the first quarter. But while Wananchi is known to kill off games in such situations, they uncharacteristically retreated at the start of the second quarter.
This allowed Tumwesigye, playing at the pivot, to settle in and he pushed his teammates forward to devastating effect.
In the 21st minute, the efforts paid off as Brian Okodi equalised to show he can score important goals as his coach Vincent Kasasa – now striking for the club’s veteran side, Historicals – used to.
Wananchi, in the words of their team manager Joshua Opolot, “panicked by trying to throw some experience into defence” in Thomas Ssentamu, who has been out for about two years, in place of Jordan Achaye.
But high pressure games are never kind to such returnees and before Ssentamu could settle into the game, he was caught in quick possession, with Arnold Kasumba scoring the second from close range.
Peter Elolu then stretched the lead to 3-1 against the run of play.
From their only well-worked short corner after messing up several others, Wananchi pulled one back through Jerome Owori.
And they started to pose real threat for an equaliser.
But Tumwesigye, midway the final quarter, brought something different for his ever retreating side. In a move that even Niccolo Machiavelli, who warned that: “men should be crushed because they can avenge for lighter injuries and of more serious ones, they cannot,” he went on a controlled solo run from deep inside his half to Wananchi’s 23.
He drew a foul that resulted into a short corner that was killed off by their captain Moses Tushabe for a 4-2 win.
What was even more commendable from Weatherhead was their discipline as only Solomon Mutalya received a green card in 51st minute. Wananchi, for good measure, had three yellow cards.
In the women’s game, Weatherhead lost 2-1 to table toppers and champions Wananchi after failing to keep their cool in the face of a controversial decision.
With the game level at 1-1 in the 54th minute, umpire Stuart Kavuma called a foul on Sylvia Oryaro for putting her stick in the way of a Wananchi attacker.
Weatherhead protested the call even long after both umpires had agreed on a short corner and were punished for their lack of concentration as Norah Alum scored.
Weatherhead had hitherto defended resolutely with Sandra Vodoti cancelling out Consolate Muber’s third quarter opener for Wananchi.
Weatherhead Vikings did not turn up for their men’s encounter with the title-chasing Stallions. Stallions, who were 21 goals behind Wananchi, were licking their lips for a goal fest against a team that has leaked 48 goals in six games, but instead earned a walk over worth only five goals. The Vikings players are said to have developed cold feet over the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic.