When Uganda was introduced out of the dressing rooms for their division’s floor hockey final at the Special Olympics World Winter Games on Thursday night, Sheeba and Ykee Benda’s song ‘farmer’ blared out of the speakers inside the Graz Arena.The Ugandan players danced their way to the court as one of them shouted ‘tugenda kubakabala’ loosely translated to mean ‘we are going to dig them’. However the Ugandans would soon find out that the ‘farmland’ as referred to in the song, was not going to be easy to till like they had expected.
They need an injury time winner by the dependable captain Jimmy Muyomba to win 2-1 against a resilient Bangladesh side, to win gold after emerging top of the division that also had South Korea. Uganda also won gold in the 2013 games that were held in South Korea.
Cheered on by Kenyan players, who had just won gold in their division, Uganda took the lead in the fifth period through Julius Lubega, who was beautifully set up by his Muyomba. Bangladesh mounted pressure thereafter but a collective defensive display commanded by the goalkeeper Willy Kyambadde kept their opponents at bay into the last seconds of the eighth period.
Thorn in the flesh
Danger-man Islam Mohammed Azijul continued to be a thorn in the flesh of Uganda’s defence but it was Rahman Mohammed that levelled matters in the last seconds of the 8th period.
The Asians had been physical throughout the game which incensed coach Sam Kiggundu, who thought that the match officials were being lenient after three of his players; Anthony Nsereko, Andrew Muhiirwa and Ibrahim Walusimbi got injured.
With more than half the players limping it was always going to be tough to stave off the wave of attacks. But when the Ugandans forced the game into overtime, there was renewed belief which eventually resulted into the winner by Muyomba with just a minute played into the second period of overtime.
Every Bangladesh player was crying at the end of the game after failing to win gold against a team that they thought was going to be easy fodder. Meanwhile the Ugandan camp was engulfed in jubilation that also attracted their Kenyan colleagues.
It was a good yield for Sam Kiggundu and his boys as they wait for another ‘farming season’ when Abu Dhabi hosts the next games in 2019.
FLOOR HOCKEY FINAL
Uganda 2-1 Bangladesh