BY MAXY ABENAITWE
The year 2019 unleashed some of the finest talent there is in Uganda Christian University. The Cardinals, for example, scooped the 2019 University Football League for the first time ever. This was the least expected win since the team was dominated by amateur players. Truth be told, the team was not the best UCU has ever had, but surprisingly the young talents, made it. Speaking to The Standard, the teams’ captain Derrick Were gave his assurance that the Championship must be well defended, come 2020.
Looking at the pattern of UCU’s performance over the years, one could tell 2019 was the year of triumph for the UCU sportsmen and women.
After scooping gold in the 2018 East African University Games, the Lady Cardinals came up strong to round off their success with the FUFA Women Elite League championship. However, the terrain has not been the same. The Lady Cardinals might struggle to defend the trophy considering that they have already lost two regular games in the Super League. Losing more games could trim their chances of defending the championship. The Ladies remain with several games that will determine their fate.
The Doves began the year 2019 in an exciting style. Right after a wonderful performance in Cairo, the team opened their National Volleyball League season with a win over defending champions Nemosters. However, Sport S, a team that has been their threat for long, could not let the Doves get close to the trophy. This 2020 the team will represent Uganda on the Africa clubs championship inTunisia.
For the Lady Canons, 2019 began with uncertainties like injuries of three key players, namely Ruth Rhoda Naggita, Annet Among and Esther Akwapu. Despite this, the Lady Canons head coach Nicholas Muhereza was positive they could make it through the season. To the coach, this was a chance for the other players to prove themselves. The Lady Canons ended up as second runners-up of the National Basketball League. To the UCU fraternity, the Ladies fought a good race since most of them were first timers. If you watched these ladies play, you could have noticed they tormented the basketball veterans like the JK Dolpines. The team seems excited and ready to take on the trophy, come 2020.
Whereas most tournaments and leagues ended in 2019, the Men’s National Basketball League has run till 2020. Much as the league is still on, UCU fans are optimistic the Canons are already champions. This is because the young stars are challenging the experienced veterans from strong teams like the City Oilers. This has been the first time in four years that UCU has qualified for the finals in NBL. This means that the Canons’ fate for the 2020 could be great. They have so far won game 6. To the fans game 7 is a sure win.
Still among the 2019 successes, teams like the Shepherds won bronze in a one-day tournament held at Ndejje University in September. Badminton team also brought the big trophy home after the university games in October.
UCU national achievements
We also can’t forget to mention that UCU acted as a nursery for the Ugandan sports in 2019.
For example, over five Lady Cardinals were recruited for the She Cranes team and one of them, Ruth Aturo for captain. The badminton bronze winner, Gladys Mbabazi, who represented Uganda in the All Africa Games in Rabat, Morroco is a UCU player. Half the Uganda rugby Cranes are also UCU Shepherdsand alumni.
When it comes to basketball, a squad of eight male and female basketballers represented the continent in the FISU University World Cup 3on3 Basketball Games in Xiemen, China.
The Doves (volleyball) represented Uganda at the Men’s African Club Championship in Cairo, Egypt. Come this 2020, they will again travel to Tunisia in May for the same tournament.
As of now, the sports department is still looking out and making trials on the new players on various teams. Therefore, it is still too early to confirm the upcoming UCU sportsmen and women. The highest number of players will be confirmed by May. Since some leagues like the National Basketball League and the super league are still on, most players’ contracts are still valid.