By David Namunyala
Uganda Handball Federation (UHF) was faced with an old problem this season but went an extra mile to have one of their key programmes held.
The federation that did not have a designated venue for the annual national league and had to fix matches at various venues to complete the contest.
The situation that has prevailed for over two years, again unsettled some clubs, but their devotion to the game produced dividends as the league finally came to an end.
Despite this problem, there was an increase in the level of competition. The game can be played indoors and on open surface, but given that UHF operates on a very small budget, it is unlikely that they can construct their own courts in the near future.
Three years back, the league was played at the Kibuli Police training school ground. Later, games were held at Clock Towers ground before it was taken up by programmes involving the Uganda Police Force.
This season, a number of games were held at the Kyambogo University ground.
But a students’ strike and administrative problems that led to the institution’s closure, forced games to be moved elsewhere.
The top performers
There was an improvement in the quality of play this season as compared to past years.
In the men’s category, Prison Spears emerged champions while Police Lady Metro lifted the women’s trophy.
In the men’s category, the 84 games held produced 2455 goals while in the women’s event, 1241 goals were scored in 60 games. A total of 2002 goals (men) and 993 (women) were registered in the 2012 season.
Prisons Spears put up some brilliant performances with victories against various opponents including Prison Arrows who lost 48-30 and Evergreen who went down 39-37.
The champions collected 20 points with 67 goals. Second-placed UPDF also had 20 points, but lost the title to their rivals because of an inferior goal difference while Police Metro came third with 14 points.
In the women’s category, Police Lady Metro had a less challenging path to the crown after they beat Ndejje University 19-6 in the final game at Kyambogo.
Before the game, the champions needed one win to go top of the table ahead of Prisons in the round robin contest.
Spurred by a number of seasoned players including Harriet Apako, Stella Akongo and Beatrice Zawadi, Police reclaimed the title they last won in 2011.
Apako netted Police’s opening goal 3 minutes into play before scoring seven more single-handedly. Her colleagues–– Akongo, who had her first season with the club, and Zawadi–– netted 5 and 4 goals respectively.
The win pushed Police on top of the table with 17 points, one better than the 2012 champions Prisons while the Nkumba University outfit finished third overall with a total of 14 points.
Away from home, the national team settled for sixth position at the International Handball Federation Challenge held in Djibouti early this year.
The unimpressive performance was partly attributed to the dismissal of dependable striker Felix Mukunzi for misconduct in one of the matches.
Uganda had a squad of only seven players, with no provision for substitutes, at the week-long contest. The other team members could not make the trip after failing to get passports.