Karamoja Games makes woodball debut as Ndejje prepare for title defence

Maria Teresa Nansereka of Ndejje Corporates reacts after stroking the ball through the gate during last year's games at MUBS. She could miss the game because of maternity. Photo | George Katongole

What you need to know:

  • The Karamoja Games was an initiative put in place to bring unity to the Karamoja sub-region through sports. The Games were last held in 2019 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Karamoja Games will make their long-awaited debut at the first Corporate Woodball Circuit today at Makerere University Rugby grounds becoming the first team from the region to play in a national event.

"It is exciting for us to participate in this competition," said Richard Okot, the chairman of Karamoja Games.

The Karamoja Games was an initiative put in place to bring unity to the Karamoja sub-region through sports. The Games were last held in 2019 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Karamoja Games address three aspects of regional importance; education, talent search and unity for youths in and out of school. The players participate in athletics, football, netball, woodball and volleyball during two-day gala events.

The best performing players are selected to participate in major national events. Okot says that in 2019, the best runners were presented in the Kabaka Birthday Run.

They will be among debutants Vision Group, Minds Heart Initiative, Uganda Youth Development Link (UYDEL) and Bank of Uganda, who bounce back after missing last year.

“We are travelling to showcase what we have. But above all, we want to compete and give our players a platform,” Okot said.

Afterwards, the team will prepare for this year’s games that will be held at Nakapiripirit Primary School on the weekend of April 29-30.

Ndejje title defence

As the newbies chase their dream into the unknown, powerhouse Ndejje University will be out to defend the title they won in 2019.

Team captain Hassan Male, who was the MVP in 2019, says they are ready to go.

"We have put in a lot of work and we want to be the best again this year," said Male.

When you’re a champion, every competitor wants bragging rights that they outwitted the defending champion. Male aware that he’s going to get everyone’s best.

Four of the nine male players are training from the university while the rest will link up at the venue. They include; Solomon Rwaganika, Michael Makoba, Timothy Mugarura and Innocent Barigye.

The women's team will welcome back Phionah Nabakooza from a sabbatical to join Ruth Nakkazi and Rose Matovu although Maria Nansereko could miss through maternity-related issues.

Last year, Ndejje won the first outing at Makerere University Business School and went on to lose the second to Kisubi at Bugema University.

With competition coming thick and fast, MUBS, who finished fourth during the first opening at home, will skip concentrating on the Beach Open next weekend.

Collin Ssemmanda, the Uganda Woodball Federation (UWbF) secretary and Stroke Woodball Club player, emphasised that Covid-19 protocols will be observed during the games.

"We know the impact the pandemic has had on sports and we encourage our players to continue wearing masks, maintain social distance and sanitise at all times during the tournament," Ssemmanda said.

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