Uganda fan favorite at Little League World Series
The Ugandan little league team may have had to take two eight-hour flights to get there, but they have quickly become the hometown favorite at the Little League World Series in South Willamsport, Pa.
The boys from Uganda made their debut Friday in a 9-3 loss at the hands of Aguadulce, Panama, but the score is but a footnote for the first team from Africa to advance to South Williamsport in the 66-year history of the tournament.
According to PennLive, nearly 7,300 people attended the game Friday night to cheer on the team from Africa. Because no one at and around the tournament is from Africa, the team’s manager Henry Odong said he didn’t expect many people to be in the stands when his team took on Panama.
“This is something,” he said. “They were rooting for us even when we were losing.”
In Uganda, the team plays with shared equipment, most of the time wearing socks because they do not have access to or the means to purchase cleats. But at the tournament, fans aren’t the only ones who have fallen for the underdogs who have already surpassed expectations in their performance against Panama.
According to Little League spokesman Lance Van Auken, the other 15 teams in the series have expressed interest in donating used equipment to the team to take home.
The next game for the boys from Lugazi, Uganda is Saturday at 6 p.m. against Mexico. The loser of this game will be eliminated, but regardless of the outcome the Ugandan team has already left its mark on the tournament.