On Wednesday morning -14th June- the Uganda National Junior Golf team was flagged off at the Uganda Golf Club, marking the beginning of their journey to Tokyo, Japan.
The team’s departure comes after their impressive qualification for the prestigious 2023 Toyota Junior Golf World Cup, which will be held in Nagoya, Japan.
The team secured their spot in the world cup after an outstanding performance at the All Africa Junior Golf Championship (AAGC), which took place in April at the renowned par-72 Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort and Spa course in Kigo.
Despite finishing in second place, just behind South Africa who claimed victory in the tournament, Uganda managed to secure one of the two available qualifying spots for the world cup.
The Uganda National Junior Golf team comprises of talented young golfers, including team captain Reagan Joseph Akena, Juma Abiti, Ibrahim Ssemakula, and Collins Matovu.
However, the team will unfortunately miss the presence of Abdu Kakeeto, one of the standout players during the qualifier.
Leading the contingent on their journey is the Team Manager, Sam Kacungira, accompanied by Team Coach Flavia Namakula.
Flavia expressed her satisfaction with the team’s training ahead of the World Cup in Japan. She mentioned that the team had the privilege of being assisted by a group of coaches from South Africa, who were part of the Africa high-performance program.
“The team has been training very well, we had a team of coaches join us from South Africa, as part of the Africa high performance program, and mainly they were here to prepare the team for the world cup and here we are, very ready. While camping at Serena, we mostly did polishing of what had already been guided by the visiting coaches.” She said.
Additional officials will join the team in Japan on Monday, ready to provide support throughout the competition.
It is worth noting that both Team Captain Joseph Akena and Juma Abiti were also part of the senior team that represented Uganda at the Africa region four championship in Addis Ababa.
Despite Uganda’s loss to Kenya and finishing in second place, similar to the previous edition of the championship, Akena and Abiti expressed their determination to deliver an even better performance at the upcoming world cup.
Reflecting on their experience at the regional tournament in Addis, Akena highlighted the valuable lessons they learned, particularly in terms of resilience and maintaining pace.
“The experience we got from the region four in Addis will be very helpful as we head to Japan fot the world cup. We learnt alot of resilience as we maintain pace at the same time. So we are going to put up a great fight in Japan.”
Abiti on the other hand acknowledged the advice given to him by Michael Karanga and expressed his readiness to implement it in the forthcoming tournament.
“In Addis I did play with Kenya’s number one Karanga, and he gave me a lot of advice while on the course, and am ready to utilize it in the world cup.
The exchange between the two players not only highlights the camaraderie within the East African region but also underscores Abiti’s determination to leverage the insights gained from Karanga in order to excel on the global stage.
The Toyota Junior Golf World Cup will commence next week with a practice round scheduled for Monday, followed by the official competition starting on Tuesday after the opening ceremony.
This global event will see junior golfers from upto 20 countries competing against each other, as they showcase heir talents and represent their nations on an international stage.
Uganda will be participating in this tournament for the second time since their debut in 2019.