Africa: Ugandan Assured of Support By Hockey President

Africa Hockey Federation (AfHF) president Ahmed Seif has promised that Uganda will get all necessary support and funding to grow the game in the country.

Seif, a former Egyptian international, has good and bad memories from his encounters with Uganda and he is on a five days trip to return the country to its glory days by establishing an academy.

"I retired in 1978 but in the early 70s Uganda was beating Egypt 3-0, 4-0. So when I became AfHF president I promised them they'll have an astroturf pitch," Seif shares in an interview with Daily Monitor at Lugogo, where he graced an awards ceremony for last season's league champions Wananchi men and women.

Unfortunately, Uganda hasn't made as many strides as Egypt from then, an appearance at the 1972 Olympics notwithstanding and Seif was shocked the astro that has been in use since 2011 had "more football than hockey use."

"We solved that problem and organized the Africa Club Championships in Kampala (2014) from where we decided to have an academy," he added.

Kenyan coach Teddy Jhite, who was in the country on Saturday to assess the situation, will run coaching activities of the academy for two years while AfHF look to ensure the country participates in more competitions with nations of their grade.

The blueprint has worked for the now self-sufficient Zambia who qualified for the youth Olympics in 2014 and Seif believes it will work for Uganda, Togo and others.

"Uganda is far off from playing modern hockey but we will improve umpires, officials, coaches and players. We will also ensure Uganda has equipment and all national team levels. Jhite is supposed to make reports every three months and if Uganda fail to comply with our requirements, we shall pull out of the project," Seif, who hasn't been pleased with Ugandan clubs' standards at continental events, warned.

Source: The Monitor.