KAMPALA. Uganda’s team of 11 has its work cut out ahead of the five day Cana Zone IV Championships that start today in Lilongwe, Malawi.
The team that travelled yesterday is too thin to better their Southern Africa counterparts like hosts Malawi, South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Angola among others for team points.
But the form and experience of some of the Ugandan swimmers going into the event is expected to translate into a couple of individual medals and various personal bests (PBs) at the event that also doubles as a qualifier for September’s Cana Senior Championships in Algeria.
“We shall focus on individual performances and we expect most of our swimmers to perform better,” coach Tonnie Kasujja, said as the team was flagged off Sunday at Gems Cambridge International School, Butabiika.
Uganda will count on the experience of Saleh twins Nabil and Fadhil plus siblings Tendo Mukalazi and Kirabo Namutebi, who have been to a couple of Zone IV events.
The latter sibling pair, however, has to cope with challenges of advancing to new age groups as Namutebi turned 13 last month while Mukalazi is 15.
But Namutebi can seek inspiration from the fact that she won Uganda’s only medals (three silvers and one bronze) in last year’s edition in Zimbabwe.
Nabil (24.85) and Fadhil (24.90) have the meet’s best entry times for the 50m freestyle event and will hope that their sibling rivalry earns them medals here.
Raphael Sine, assistant captain Shelby Clow and Mercedes Mwebeiha, who was in commendable form at the Silverfin Pentathlon held Saturday in Butabiika, have been to this stage too.
Mwebeiha made 2:53.33 and 1:12.29 in the 200m individual medley (IM) and 100m backstroke at Gems; times that are better than her Cana entry times.
Speaking form, team captain and first timer Samora Lumonya was equally impeccable at the Pentathlon with 1:09.52 (100m back) and 2:34.89 (200 IM).
“It is good that Cana is just a week after the Pentathlon. Some of the swimmers that competed here on Sunday are well trained and will be in good form in Malawi,” Kasujja, who also has Jordan Setumba, Abba Mayanja and Kevin Rugaaju going for their first Zone IV event, added.