Woodball ready to emerge from COVID-19 shadow

After two years in limbo due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Uganda national woodball team will compete at its first international meet.

The Woodball team is expected to field an eight-man team that will compete at the second Africa Woodball Championship that will be held in Nairobi between November 3-8, 2021 at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.

Uganda’s last involvement in an international tournament came in 2019 during the Beach Woodball World Cup in Entebbe, missing the World Cup in 2020 in Malaysia due to the global health crisis.

“This is going to be our first international tournament since we missed the World Cup in 2020 in Malaysia,” Uganda Woodball Federation president Paul Mark Kayongo said.

“There are positive solutions in place including vaccination and our decision was solidified by these positive changes.”

Definitely we shall present a strong team and I am hopeful everyone selected will contribute positively,” he added.

Uganda is the defending champion of the Africa Woodball Championship, winning the event in 2019, and will seek to defend their crown against challengers including hosts Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda.

The other nations that have confirmed participation include Zimbabwe, Burundi, South Sudan, Zambia, Zanzibar, and Eritrea.

However, with little action going into the tournament, team selection has been a huge stumbling block for the technical team, whose hand has been drawn into selecting the top ranked players.

Top seed Onesmus Atamba will lead the men’s team in Nairobi and will play alongside Israel Muwanguzi, Brian Gwaka, and Ronald Mulindwa.

Meanwhile, Christine Birungi, Joan Mukooya, Cathy Nagaba and Joyce Nalubega make up the four-member women squad.

Before the team leaves for Nairobi, they will gauge their sharpness and competitive level with the Corporate Circuit at Bugema on Sunday, and the Uganda Open at Uganda Christian University, Mukono between October 9-10.

The National council of Sports (NCS) has promised to foot the bills for COVID-19 testing of all the players and officials.

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