Uganda's lacrosse players target youth to grow the sport

Ugandan youth are being taught to play Lacrosse as part of the country’s efforts to popularize the sport and improve upon their performances at the World Championships in 2014 and 2018.

In a sunny afternoon in Jinja, Uganda, Andrew Mamawi is getting his players in gear.

Mamawi played for the Ugandan lacrosse team at the World Championships in 2014 and 2018. Uganda is the first African country to field a team at the sport’s penultimate event.

“It showed me a lot of things that sports can do. After playing for a while in Kampala, I came back to the community that raised me, so what I didn’t have, what I didn’t get as a child is what I wanted to give back to the community,” said Lacrosse Coach and player, Andrew Mamawi.

The sport was first introduced in the East African nation in 2012 by an American representative of the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL).

Secretary of Uganda Lacrosse Association, Donald Atuhire said Uganda is at the forefront, while the rest of Africa is just waiting them to expand

“It’s a very challenging sport, it’s fast and requires a lot of skill holding all that equipment, there is a helmet, gloves, a stick, a ball that is very heavy, it needs so much skill in handling it, so we expect if the kids take it up professionally, they could easily get a payment for it,” he added.

Funds to pay players, buy equipment, manage leagues, organize competitions, facilitate travel, and eventually offer college scholarships are raised through the California-based Uganda Lacrosse Foundation or the Uganda Lacrosse Association both formed to help support the country’s niche community of players and fans.

The Cranes Uganda’s national team – hope to play in the Olympics one day. They may just have enough time to launch that offensive, given that the FIL sees 2028 as the year lacrosse will return to the Summer Games.