Uganda to represent Africa at 2016 Quidditch World Cup

18 May 2016

Quidditch is no longer a sport only played in the fictional, magical Harry Potter books. Invented in the series of novels by JK Rowling, fans were inspired to play quidditch in real life. Team Uganda will be holding the hopes of Africa on their shoulders at the 2016 Quidditch World Cup, taking place in Germany from 23 to 24 July.

The International Quidditch Association (IQA) announced that 24 teams from six continents had preregistered to attend the tournament. Team Uganda is the only team from Africa.

A crowdfunding project was started on the Indiegogo Generosity fundraising website to help Team Uganda to get enough money to travel to Germany.

“Up to this point, most international quidditch teams have been from western countries – Europe and North America. With this campaign, we have a real chance to broaden the spectrum of teams attending the event,” says the Indiegogo campaign.

Originally Team Uganda set out to raise €1 500 (about R26 000), reported British newspaper The Guardian, but the team need nearly €15 000 to get to Germany. They are just over half-way there, and have raised €8 256 so far.

“Team Uganda still need so much more support,” tournament director Matthew Guenzel told The Guardian. “The flights alone number in the tens of thousands. But we are hopeful. The quidditch community is very supportive, and this is a great cause.”

The team showed their appreciation on their Facebook page. “There is a moment when the support you get outweighs what you expected,” they wrote. “Thank you all for loving and supporting Team Uganda. It’s overwhelming and amazing! We are convinced that people in the quidditch community love us greatly.”

Watch the team captain, Safina Nakawooya thank supporters:

How the game is played

As in the Potter books, quidditch is played with two teams of seven players each, made up of a keeper, two beaters, three chasers and a seeker.

In reality, chasers tried to throw a quaffle – a semi-deflated volley ball – through raised hoops, beaters threw bludgers – dodge balls – at the opposing team, and seekers tried to reach for the snitch – a sock with a tennis ball in it – usually attached to the snitch runner’s shorts, reported The Guardian. And because brooms don’t fly in the real world, players hold a broom between their legs.

The team that scores the most points, either by throwing the quaffle through the hoops or gaining the snitch, wins the game.

Watch this for more information:

Origins

It was a sunny Sunday afternoon in 2005 when Xander Manshel and Alex Benepe, both students at Middlebury College in Vermont, in the US, began playing quidditch in real life, according to the IQA. By 2007, the sport had grown to have the first intercollegiate match. In 2008, the first 12-team World Cup was played, featuring teams from universities.

The game gained global traction and by 2012, “the IQA hosted national teams from the US, Canada, the UK, France, and Australia in Oxford, England for the inaugural Global Games, a bi-annual tournament showcasing the talents of the best players from around the world, which occurred alongside a torch ceremony for the London Olympics”, reads the IQA website.

The governing body now serves approximately 20 quidditch-playing organisations and nations spanning six continents.

The World Cup

The World Cup will be held at the Rebstocklage sports facility in Frankfurt.

“We are excited about this opportunity to welcome the world to the heart of German quidditch, and look forward to working together with the IQA to ensure a memorable tournament experience for both players and spectators,” said Lisa Struck, chair of the Frankfurt 2016 Organising Committee.

IQA executive director Harrison Homel said Frankfurt was a major travel hub so it was the ideal gateway for players and fans alike. “We are all extremely glad to be working with such passionate hosts, and to use this opportunity to bring our sport to new eyes in central Europe.”

Source: The Guardian