M Getty Images
Is Uganda facing player crisis ahead of two World Cup tournaments?
By Eric Njiru | Fri 11 May, 2018 16:29

Uganda Rugby Union national teams coaches are set to have a meeting to decide on who plays where as both 15s and 7s teams will be in action, in two major tournaments at the same time. 

The 15s team will be seeking to qualify for 2019 World Cup by winning the Africa Gold Cup that kicks off in June. Their Sevens counterparts on their side have the Sevens World Cup waiting for them in July in USA. 

A number of players including Kabras Sugar winger Philip Wokorach are needed in both teams and their absence in any would be a big miss. 

Unlike in Kenya where Kenya 7s players are contracted specifically for Sevens Series that ends in July after the World Cup while a different group is in the 15s set up, Uganda lacks the quorum to have such a privilege.

Uganda kick-off the Sevens World Cup at the pre-round of 16 against Samoa on Friday July 20 with the winner proceeding to round of 16 to take on Commonwealth Bronze medalists England. 

Wokorach 

Wokorach, Pius Ogena, Solomon Okia, Aaron Ofoyrwoth, Michael Wokorach(7s captain), Lawrence Ssebuliba, Joseph Aredo, Adrian Kasito, Ivan Magomu and Timoth Kisiga make up the Uganda 7s squad. 

Still making the 15s squad is Ofoyrwoth, Wokorach, Odong, Ssebuliba, Aredo, Kasito, Ogena, Magomu and Wokorach(15). 

The Wokorach brothers are significant figures in both teams and their absence would be felt hard. The Kabras based Wokorach was the man of the match when Uganda visited Kenya in 2016. 

Read Also: Road to Japan: Africa qualifiers schedule

The Sevens team is set to head to South Africa for a 10-day camp at Stellenbosch University while the 15s side will play Kenya in the first leg of Elgon Cup on May 26 in Kampala. 

In an exclusive interview with Raga House, Uganda Rugby Union CEO Ramsey Olinga commented on the situation saying:
"We will manage the players. Most players will be rested, like the Elgon Cup against Kenya is not a competitive game so we will rest them." 

"Our target remains Africa Gold Cup so players will be given breaks to matches that are not part of that so that they can be ready." 

From Namibia to USA and back to Kampala

Uganda kicks off the Africa Gold Cup on June 16 against Namibia in Windhoek before playing Kenya on July 7 in Nairobi. 

10 days later, the Sevens team will fly to USA for the Sevens World Cup where they play Samoa in the pre-round of 16 with the winner set to play England in the round of 16. 

Read Also: 7s World Cup fixtures released

Uganda Sevens has of late been defined by the skillful Philip Wokorach while the likes of Ssebuliba, Odong, Ofoyrwoth have had fantastic outings. 

A week after Sevens World Cup, Uganda 15s team has a home clash against Tunisia in the Africa Gold Cup before hosting Morocco and Zimbabwe in the following two weeks. 

Uganda 7s team manager Michael Wandera says there will be talks between national team coaches to solve the 'crisis' and give every team the best players for respective tournaments. 
"Everything is in the planning. It will be interesting to see how this ends up but both coaches do talk and there should be an amicable decision." 

Uganda 15s have South Africa based Free State Cheetahs visiting on May 16 and 19 for friendly matches and preparations for Elgon Cup. 

Global repechage 

Main Africa Gold Cup contenders Namibia are not taking part in the Sevens World Cup thus their concentration is fully on qualifying for the 2019 World Cup to be held in Japan. 

Only the winner of Africa Gold Cup will qualify for the World Cup with runner up heading to a four team global repechage. 

Kenya has speedsters Collins Injera, Andrew Amonde, Billy Odhiambo, Oscar Ouma, Oscar Ayodi, Nelson Oyoo, Sammy Oliech, Eden Agero, Dan Sikuta and many more eyeing specifically the Sevens World Cup.

 A 15s squad on the other side for 2018 assignments has already been selected with no Sevens player making the squad. 

Dennis Ombachi, who had been invited for trials, was not considered but is understood to be eyeing a slot in the 7s team to head to San Francisco.


Eric Njiru
ericnjiru41@gmail.com 0726205521
Related Articles
Leave a comment