KAMPALA- New captain Becca Mwanja highlighted the importance of Team Uganda wrapping up a hat-trick of titles ahead today’s tee off of the 18th East Africa Golf Challenge Trophy (EAGCT) tournament.

“It means a lot to us,” said the scratch golfer, who has missed out on previous team selections because of a hectic schedule at Makerere University and only made his national debut at this year’s Victoria Cup in Nairobi.

“To win a hat-trick of titles will show that our development programme is continuing to churn out good quality. Kenya are the record champions with 11 titles but for us to win three in a row will be immense.”

Mwanja’s talk hints that both camps – Kenya and Uganda – have already singled out each other as direct rivals for the prestigious crown. The unfamiliar nine-hole Addis Ababa Golf Club (AAGC) course that is a haven of windy conditions and boasts of a dry course layout will play host to the regional showpiece for the first time.
“We have proven to be good matchplay tournament players over the years,” coach Amos Kamya said of his troops.

“The opposition is aware of that because we showed that we didn’t gamble our way to victory in the Africa Zone VI last year and Challenge in Rwanda. But we must deploy sensibly without fear.”

Kamya, a man who was won it all as both a player and coach, singled out attacking Kenya and host-nation Ethiopia. “To be the best, you must beat the best. We must attack Kenya, Ethiopia and maybe Tanzania. A good start in the singles is a must before we embark on the foursomes,” said the 2006 Uganda Open winner.

It is likely 2015 Uspa Sportsman of the Year Ronald Otile and former captain Adolf Muhumuza will take on Kenyan opponents whereas long-hitter Martin Ochaya and seasoned campaigner Ronald Rugumayo will rub shoulders with Tanzanian and Ethiopian rivals respectively.

Kenya have not trained together but they have an array of stars in their ranks led captain Alfred Nandwa. Others to watch out are Daniel Nduva (Nyali), John Lejirma (Golf Park), Edwin Mudanyi (Vet Lab), Robinson Owiti (Vet Lab), Simon Njogu (Great Rift Valley Resort-Naivasha) as well as two juniors Agil Is-Haq (Nyali) and Mutahi Kibugu (Muthaiga). Winless Rwanda and Burundi are the other teams in the six-nation meet.

FORMER WINNERS
East Africa Golf Challenge Trophy
1999: Kenya
2000: Kenya
2001: Uganda
2002: Tanzania
2003: Kenya
2004: Kenya
2005: Kenya
2006: Kenya
2007: Kenya
2008: Kenya
2009: Uganda
2010: Uganda
2011: Kenya
2012: Kenya
2013: Kenya
2014: Uganda
215: Uganda
2016: ???

indawula@ug.nationmedia.com