The Swedish Floorball Federation has extended a supporting hand to Uganda Floorball Association (UFA) by donating various game equipment to help grow the sport in the Pearl of Africa.
The said apparatus are gaming sticks, jerseys, balls, stockings among others, which were handed over by Robert Zimula, the founding president of the game in the country. This was done at an event held in Mbalwa, Bweyogerere.
At the same event, the current president of UFA Mugisa David was in attendance to receive the items and would use his address to the press to extend his unwavering gratitude to his predecessor who also doubles as the board member.
“We’ve been receiving equipment given to us from our friends in Sweden through Mr. Robert whose support for us throughout all our activities continues to be special. We would like to thank him for loving the sport he helped create.” Mugisha said.
He would use the opportunity to highlight that they were expecting more equipment as he spoke about the past and future of this sport in the country.
The sport has spent close to a period of six years since it’s inception but the advance effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have taken a toll on work at the association.
Mugisha further cited the fact that their recruitment program for the next generation of players had been extended in schools and institutions of higher learning like Ndejje and Mbarara University who were prospects prior to the pandemic.
He would also use the same platform to provide an update about the resumption of the Floorball league in the country.
“The plan is to vaccinate players and staff for the respective 22 clubs as is the requirement from the Ministry of Health before the resumption of the league. Our offices are at Post Office Suit 348 for anyone that would like to engage with us.” Mugisha added.
When granted the opportunity to speak, Zimula started by speaking about the genesis of this sport in Uganda in 2014 and expressed his satisfaction of the current composition of the league.
There are 22 clubs in the league currently with five of these girls belonging to the female division while the rest belong to the male division.
According to Zimula, the floorball game originates from Sweden and is ranked as the second best sport in the country, only bettered by football.
The Swedish are therefore committed to exporting the sport worldwide through providing equipment to the countries they sought out.
He would however implore the government to subsidize the shipment costs to these equipment and further support the sport to growth and development.
The games in Uganda are often hosted at Namboole, Nsambya and other facilities for hire. Before shifting to these venues, the sport was first played at the Lugogo MTN Arena as it’s host.
Floorball is a fast growing hockey-like sport played indoors with “plastic” sticks and a light weight plastic ball with holes.
The sport is also known as unihoc or unihockey in New Zealand and is often played in schools. It’s typically a five field players and goalkeeper (without a stick) game played on a fully enclosed rink.
The goals are set in so that play can continue behind the goal-line, just like in Ice hockey.
Floorball is a safe, fast and fun sport and easy for people to pick up on. One only requires a stick and no protective gear is required.
As any other sport, there are few rules to floorball geared mainly at making it a safe sport for everyone. It is one of the few sports where gender equality is practiced.
One of the great advantages of Floorball is the ease to start playing, the relatively low costs and the speed of the game.
The sport was developed in the 1970s and first appeared in Scandinavia and central Europe. It has since grown to a sport being played world wide.
It is played professionally in Europe and World Championships are held every two years, the even years having men’s and uneven years having women’s World Championships. Sweden (women) and Finland (men) are the current World Champions.
The International Floorball Federation (IFF) was founded in 1986 by Sweden, Finland and Switzerland and currently has about 50 member countries. Floorball now has a total of 300,000 licensed players and a total of 2 million recreational players in the world.
It is recognised by the International Olympic Committee and IFF is working towards Floorball to be added to the Olympic Games in the future.
Back here in Uganda, the game was established in 2014 and it is still in growing stages in the country. Currently there are 22 clubs, five for the girls and the rest are for the boys.