The Uganda National Hockey League returns this weekend with a juicy one as defending champions Wananchi take on table leaders Weatherhead on Saturday at the Hockey grounds in Lugogo.
Weatherhead will go into this game hoping to regain this fixture’s bragging rights having lost three of their four encounters last season.
The side coached by Steven Jjuuko won the first leg of the Uganda Cup 3-2 last year, but they lost the second leg by the same score and went on to lose both legs in the league.
They will be hoping to emulate their title winning season (2021) that saw them go unbeaten against the record league winners, winning two and drawing as many.
Jjuuko is adamant his side is up for the task and insists their defeats to Wananchi last year were not due to lack of skilled players.
“The camp is aware of the magnitude of the task ahead of us,” Jjuuko said. “We have been training diligently with some putting in extra personal hours.
“We know we lost the previous games not on the skill level of our players, but on the mindset. It is what we have been concentrating on.”
Weatherhead lead the table standings heading into this game, but that’s just on goal difference as both sides boast 15 points. Wananchi will look to dethrone their rivals from the summit when they take to the field tomorrow.
“We are aware this game is a do or die for both teams, because whoever wins will have an upper hand of winning the league,” Martin Okello, Wananchi captain acknowledged.
“Our players may be a little fatigued due to their respective schools engagement, but we plan to field our best team, do the simple basics, follow our coach’s tactics and hope for the best result.”
The tie on paper appears a well balanced one! Both teams are yet to lose a game this term, and in terms of goals, Wananchi who sit second in the league have scored the most (49), but that’s just one more than the table leaders. Weatherhead on the other hand have conceded the least number of goals (1), three less than Wananchi.
In other Saturday games- in the men’s division, fifth placed Thunder will face eighth placed Badgers while the bottom of the table affair will see Weatherhead Titans and KHC Originals face off.
On Sunday, City Lions will play Makerere University while KHC will meet Rockets.