For the third time asking, Uganda Lacrosse Association and the Men’s National Lacrosse Cranes have yet to find a winning way. On paper, locally and the African continent, the sport is growing but Lacrosse is yet to make an impressive impact on the game at big international engagements stage like the World Cup Championships.
The results at the ongoing 2023 World Lacrosse Men’s Championships in San Diego, California, in USA speak volumes about how the sport that has locally evolved rapidly, is yet to show serious competitiveness despite the fact that the young Lacrosse playing nation has continued to pick positives from the poor results every time they have played against the best in the World.
In their group B pool, the Uganda Lacrosse Cranes on their learning experience have been exposed to losses. They lost all four fixtures against their opponents Wales, France, Japan and Denmark, finishing bottom of it. This however, is the third time that Uganda is playing at the Lacrosse World Championships after competitions in 2014 (USA) and four years later in Israel (2018). In San Diego, Lacrosse Cranes started off to a Japanese humiliation of 18 against Uganda’s nil result, lost 05-13 to France before another 04 goals against Wales 17 loss at group B fixtures.
Lacrosse in Uganda
For starters, Lacrosse is a relatively new sport, having been introduced 14 years ago at Makerere University Business School as home ground in the Country. It’s here that the Uganda Lacrosse Association (ULA) and Lacrosse in Uganda manifested. Here, the sport was introduced in 2009 by American Lacrosse Coach Kevin Dugan and Maurice Sserunkuuma, who was then the Sports tutor of the institution and was working with Fields of Growth, USA. In 2011, the sport was boosted with a donation by Notre Dame University, USA to Makerere University Business School.
During the Lacrosse game, players use the lacrosse stick to handle the ball and to strike or “check” opposing players’ sticks, causing them to drop the ball. The head of a lacrosse stick is roughly triangular in shape and is strung with loose netting that allows the ball to be caught, carried (known as “cradling”), passed, or shot.
Lacrosse is a 10-aside team sport (3 attacks, 3 middies, 3 defenders and 1 Goalkeeper) played with a small solid rubber ball and a long-handled stick called a Crosse or a lacrosse stick. The players pass the ball to each other and score. Players use the head of the lacrosse stick to carry, pass, catch and shoot the ball into the goal.
The sport is played by both men and women and it’s both an indoor and outdoor sport. The objective of the game is similar to many team sports involving a ball, namely to shoot the ball into the opponents goal more times than they do to yours. Lacrosse is a very fast game, the object of which is to send the ball through the opponents’ goal as many times as possible and to prevent one’s opponents from scoring.
During play each team must have at least four players in its defensive half of the field and no fewer than three in its offensive half of the field. This rule prevents excessive crowding around a goal when it is under attack. Conventionally, the goalkeeper and the three defensemen stay in the defensive half, while the three attackmen stay in the offensive half.
The midfielders are permitted to roam the field, reinforcing the attack or defense as needed. There are two officials, a referee and a judge. The game is divided into four periods of 15 minutes each, with intervals of one minute between the first and second quarters and between the third and fourth quarters and a 10-minute rest at halftime. If the score is tied at the end of regulation time, play is resumed after an intermission of five minutes for two four-minute periods, with a one-minute rest in between. During the game, free substitution is allowed to teams.
The field and equipment
The playing field is 110 yards (about 100 metres) long and 60 yards wide. The goals are 80 yards apart. The goal posts are 6 feet (1.8 metres) high and the same distance apart, surmounted by a crossbar. The posts are fitted with a netting fastened to the ground behind the goal to stop passage of the ball after a successful shot. The goal-area lines, wing lines, and centre line act as restraints on the movements of certain players during play. Passing over a line into a prohibited area results in a penalty. And the Ball? The ball is of sponge rubber, not less than 7.75 to 8 inches (19.7 to 20.3 cm) in circumference, and weighs 5 to 5.25 ounces (142 to 149 grams).
- Mr. Daniels N. Tatya is an affluent Sports Writer, Commentator and Editor. His over 15 years of covering almost major sporting events makes him a revered and an authority on investigative Sports journalism in Uganda. He can also be reached via [email protected] +256(0)758268315
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