The National Underwater hockey team on Tuesday jetted off to Dubai for the 2017 Cleopatra Underwater Hockey Cup, which is slated to kick-off from July 7-9.
Over ten teams from different continents are expected to compete in the three-day competition that will be played in a round-robin format.
The delegation of one female and four males left Kigali International Airport on Tuesday at 1am for Dubai aboard a Ethiopian Airlines flight and before their departure, team captain Nicolas Umuhizi told Time Sport that their main objective is to compare with other teams to see how the new sport in the country has progressed.
“We want to see how other teams are doing and compare with the progress we have made. We introduced the sport in Rwanda in 2013 so most of the players that we recruited were expats who leave or change countries because of work.”
To address this challenge, locals are being recruited into the sport and, so far, 21 players have been recruited.
This year, the team plans to travel to South Africa to play more competitions so that they can continue to measure themselves against top teams.
Last year, the Underwater Hockey team played against Tanzania and won 4-2 in a friendly in March at Cercle Sportif de Kigali and in the return game in Dar es Salaam in June; the hosts won 8-3.
Underwater Hockey (UWH), also known as Octopush, is a globally played limited-contact sport in which two teams compete to maneuver a puck across the bottom of the swimming pool into the opposing team’s goal by propelling it with a hockey stick (bat).
Squad: Alphonsine Agahozo (former Olympic swimmer), Janvier Uwimana, Samson Nkurunziza, Fred Hirwa, Nicolas Umuhizi (Coach-player).