Uganda Hockey Cranes beat Kenya 1-0 as the Hockey She Cranes lost in improved show down compared to the first serie at Sikhon Stadium in Nairobi.
Uganda’s Hockey side started with purpose and verve with an aim to improve on the 1-1 draw they managed in the first meet up at the same venue on Thursday.
However, they still gave away the first chance in the 10th minute. This showed how much of a tough task they had on their hands to match their ambition with game management.
Goalkeeper and captain Bosco Ochan stood tall to keep the visitors in the game and on course for a better second quarter.
Uganda then took control of the game and were rewarded for it when industrious playmaker Ashraf Tumwesigye and Innocent Raskara combined to win a short corner in the 20th minute.
Stuart Kavuma’s well-paced injection was stopped and channelled left to Timothy Ntumba by Raskara.
Ntumba went for goal but his delivery was deflected to the gaping right side of goal by Okodi leaving the Kenyan keeper Paul Ongadi flat-footed and sending the small Ugandan crowd – mostly comprised of the female national team players – in uproar.
Okodi is one rare talent, who started out as a goalkeeper at school before riding purely on passion and willingness to learn to establish himself as a defender in club hockey.
Here, he has played mostly as a wide forward, bringing energy and consistency into the press alongside midfielder Maxwell Mugisha.
Uganda continued to dominate exchanges all through to the end of the third quarter and should have had more through their experienced striker Thomas Opio.
Kenya, who managed to deal with Uganda’s high balls better than they did on Thursday, fought back in the last quarter winning a couple of short corners but the steady Ugandan defence held on for the all important win.
“The aim and promise was to stop Kenyan dominance over us and we have kept our word.
The aim is to finish the job tomorrow with another win.” coach Vincent Kasasa, said.
Meanwhile, the ladies’ side She Cranes, continued to suffer at the hand of the Kenyans as they lost 6-0 in the second game.
They will feel it was an improved performance as they had lost 11-0 on Thursday.
Uganda and Kenya are engaged in this Series after automatically qualifying for the Africa Cup due in Ghana in January 2022.
The Series should help FIH rank the two countries after the continental cup qualifiers were cancelled because other countries in their group had failed to confirm participation.