The game that every Ugandan wants to forget is probably the game that is going to make our season, God willing. Kenya put up a show in our own backyard and had us wagging our tails right between our legs with excessive amounts of shame and remorse. It was an Elgon Cup Tie but also with Kenya in Tier 1A of African Rugby, it was a test of what was to come in the July Africa Cup Tier 1A games.
The Welwitschias of Namibia were the first hurdle to test the relevance of the exuberant Uganda Cranes in Africa’s most prestigious Rugby division. With a bevy of lessons of take from the indomitable Simbas of Kenya, it was time to find out whether South Africa was a boot camp or leisure trip. Marvin Odong made a return at eighth man and crowd favorite, Joseph Aredo could only hope to come off the bench.
Your guess is as good as mine! The trip to South Africa under the watchful eye of Coach John Duncan proved to yield early results and Marvin Odong showed what the Cranes pack without him at its base inspiring an early Pius Ogena try and give the hosts an early 5-0 lead. The visitors weren’t about to let a lower ranked side take them to school that early and they caught Captain Fantastic Michael Wokorach sleeping with a chip and chase which their winger met and dived over for their first try. It was converted which meant Uganda was on the back foot 7-5. The levels of Namibia started to manifest when they ran in two easy converted tries to push their lead to 21-05. Fullback Phillip Wokorach, only out for his second test was not about to let the Southerners have their way when he executed a signature “up and under” that he finished off himself with a converted try. Uganda went into the dugout trailing 21-12.
Photo credit : New Vision
On for the second half, the script re-wrote itself when Namibia drew first blood with a try to push their lead to 26-12. Time to share the points? Uganda had a quick reply for Namibia to bring the game to 26-19. Handles became the hosts’ undoing and in the end conceded another try at the hands of the Namibians. Not before long, Joseph Aredo was on Chris Lubanga to a wild reception. He met the hype when he caught the Namibian defenders napping, paced past them and grounded for a try to the home side. From Jon Snow the bastard, to Jon Snow the King of the North. Theuns Kotze’s brilliance continued to show when he masterminded another Namibian counter attack only to be awarded a penalty try to take the game to 40-24. Kicks had cost Uganda seven points at this point in the game, but this was no time to rue missed chances, but rather to make the moments count. Phillip Wokorach kept giving the crowd something to cheer with a malaria time beauty to which he kicked the extras and end the game 40-31 in favor of the visitors.
Despite the scoreboard, the home contingent were proud of their boys and are hopeful of a better show against Zimbabwe next weekend.