Protests as Kenya claims Military Netball silver

By francis marangu
Aug 13, 2021
  • Uganda Kithum Ali against Kenya Esther Buyali. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

Kenya Defence Forces has claimed the EAC Military Games netball silver after edging out Uganda 35-33 in a tightly contested yet controversial decider played at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies on Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, Tanzania had beaten Rwanda 82-15 to claim gold and the winner of the Kenya-Uganda match was to settle for the silver.

Uganda won bronze following the loss which means the top three positions remain unchanged from the 2011 results in Burundi.

The fourth and fifth positions will be decided on Thursday when Burundi and Rwanda faceoff. Both teams have lost all their matches with Burundi conceding more than Rwanda and scoring less.

So high were the stakes in the Kenya-Uganda match that the losers did not take their defeat lightly. The team’s management has officially written to the organizers to protest what they called “fielding of a pregnant player” by Kenya.

The player in question, goal shooter Caroline Makokha, has played for Kenya in all the other matches with no complaint being lodged by their past opponents.

“The results for this match should be nullified because it was wrong to field a pregnant player. It is against the rules of the game and we will not accept that,” said an angered Uganda coach Mukama Wessel.

The Ugandans claimed that Makokha was six months pregnant but the timing of the complaint was questionable. It raised eyebrows on whether they would have protested if they won.

“We complained before the match but nobody bothered. Maybe it is because the umpire was a Kenyan.”

Kenya Netball Association Secretary General Lilian Anupi, who officiated the match, dismissed the allegations saying there are no precise rules barring pregnant players from playing.

“A player can play when pregnant but that is at her own risk and that of the team.”

Uganda cite poor officiating

Furthermore, Uganda cried foul over poor officiating which they believe cost them a win.

Team captain Mirembe Irene said; “the umpire was making very many suspect calls against us just because she was a Kenyan. We were clearly denied victory and are totally frustrated with the whole tournament organization.”

In contrast, it was celebrations galore on the Kenyan side that were happy to have retained the silver and above all beaten rivals Uganda.

“Even though Kenya is a non mover, we are happy not to have lost the silver. It would have been disastrous for us,” said head coach Elkno Ogembo.

He expressed satisfaction with the whole tournament more so on levels of competition from other teams. “It was tough for all teams this year because they were well prepared. Generally, it was good and we are happy.”

Kenya led Uganda 17-16 at halftime and the margin between the two teams never exceeded three points at any time in all quarters. Makokha had 15 points for Kenya with Cynthia Akoth adding 13. For Uganda, top scorer was Nakiwa Annet with 18 goals while Kulthum Ali had 11. Wednesday is a rest day with action resuming on Thursday in respective venues.

Collated Results: Football- Burundi 0 Uganda 0, Tanzania 3 Rwanda 0; Handball- Kenya 46 Rwanda 32, Tanzania 31 Burundi 28; Netball- Tanzania 83 Rwanda 15, Kenya 35 Uganda 33; Basketball- Kenya 68 Uganda 57, Burundi 67 Rwanda 55.