Namagunga’s grass pitch a challenge for local clubs

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Local hockey clubs visited Mount St Mary’s Namagunga in search of glory at the prestigious Namagunga Open on Saturday. However, the bumpy grass field at the Lugazi-based school kept most of the teams from scoring more goals than they would have hoped for, further exposing the lack of creativity among local clubs that national team coach James Sserwada has always decried. Most games registered 1-0 scores. The goals usually on show at Lugogo were nowhere in Namagunga. The short corners that usually yield goals at the ‘ever-aiding’ astro, were this time miscontrolled, misjudged and easily intercepted by opponents, none gave a goal.It was that sort of tourney that ladies’ and schools’ (boys) finals were settled by flicks. Kampala Hockey Club (KHC) ladies won 2-0 against Namagunga while St Mary’s College Kisubi beat Namilyango 4-1.The men’s final ended 2-0 as Weatherhead beat KHC while the girls schools’ final ended 1-0 in favour of Namagunga A, who beat the school’s Team B in a ‘friendly fire’.The schools performed a lot better with Namagunga A winning all it’s games at the round-robin stage without conceding a goal. This is mainly because schools train from grass pitches.“Weatherhead ladies have never been humiliated like that by a local team,” Namagunga coach Moses Nsereko said after his side beat the national league champions 3-0.KHC coach Ronald Kawalya said hockey can be played on any surface and that the challenges of grass and murram pitches aid in the improvement of skill and technique that one would need to negotiate astro-turf pitches usually used at international tournaments.Most players still struggle with basics of the game, judging from the Namagunga Open.

mmuziransa@ug.nationmedia.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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