Uganda Rugby Cranes: Its David Against Goliath

Uganda Rugby Cranes encounter the mighty Atlas Lions of Morocco.
Saturday Results: Uganda 3 Morocco 5

By Ramathan Kasozi
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First published: September 9, 2006

It's more or less a Goliath vs. David battle, when the Uganda Rugby Cranes come face to face with the mighty Atlas lions of Morocco this weekend at Kampala Rugby Club in the 15s aside 2007 World Cup qualifiers.

In the first leg, the Lions in their den of Casablanca, clobbered the Ugandans 36-3, and it's precisely that humiliating loss and the current sparkling form of the Rugby Cranes that make them think that there is no any other opportunity than this Saturday to revenge.

Ever since that time, the Uganda Rugby Union recruited South African tactician, Chester Williams to take over the mantle and within a short period, he has transformed the team into one of the most feared sides on the continent.

In his first game in charge, he led the team to a historical 32-7 mauling over giants Ivory Coast at Kyadondo Rugby grounds, took West African power house Cameroon to school before a stunning 22-20 victory over old nemesis Kenya in the Elgon Cup in Nairobi.

Such victories have seen Uganda improve tremendously in world ranking from 62nd to 50th position.

On the game proper, a team of 22 players has been going through an intense residential training under the guidance of Chester Williams and Yayiro Kasasa who are all breathing fire ahead of the tie and 22 millions shillings from the national Rugby governing body awaits them as a bonus should they triumph this weekend.

Peter Magona
New Vision: Peter Magona

Skipper Peter Magona, is aware of how good the opponents are but he is optimistic that the day will belong to Uganda.

"Morocco is a strong team, but like the saying goes, 'when the going gets tough, the tough gets going'. We are more than ready for any challenge," said the charismatic player, a pillar in Uganda's triumph over Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Kenya in the Elgon Cup.

His coach almost echoes his words, as he has already sent a warning message to the Magrib region giants to get ready for a humiliation.

"I am aware, they are good and they are ranked above us, but my boys are alert and we have laid all the necessary strategies to encounter them and I am optimistic that nothing will impede us from registering a win and go top of the table," warns the former South African national.

MTN Heathens' 20 year old 5ft 7 hooker, Alex Mubiru couldn't miss the talking feast as he disclosed to Ultimate Media Consult, that the word defeat doesn't exist in their camp.

A Moroccan contigent of 22 which comprises of only two home based players jetted in Kampala on Wednesday evening and is accommodated at Hotel Equatorial in the heart of the city.

The huge towering ruggers have been undergoing double daily training sessions at Kyadondo Rugby ground under the watch full eyes of a coach Waz Avernaad.

Waz Avernaad says that despite his team's first leg 36 3 victory, he is aware that Uganda is now a changed team and has warned his boys against a possible complacency.

"The first leg victory can't be the yard stick in tomorrow's game. In addition to the home advantage, Uganda is now a changed side especially after the signing of Chester Williams, though we have come for a win," he reveals.

Full back, Hichum Housni, Khalim Chalid, winger Achouak Loukrassi and CS Meaux star Mohamoud Dermoun are some of the players to watch.

Chester Williams is expected to bank on the experience of Mango Kobs veteran Fred Mudoola, Pirates 30 year prop Brian Makalama, skipper Magoona and long serving Robert Sseguya to keep Uganda's qualification campaign alive.

Any win for the Cranes, will see them leap flog the Moroccans from the top of the table before traveling to Abidjan for the decider against the other group A member, Ivory Coast.

The Rugby Cranes in camp include:
Peter Magoona, Fred Mudoola , Brian Makalama, Robert Sseguya, Eddie Tumusiime, Timothy Lugya, Vicent Otim, Mutabaruka, Ronald Adigasi, Timothy Mudoola, Lutwama, Kinene , Mubiru, Wadia, Bukenya , Ocwo, Soita and Tabaluka

The Bell Lager sponsored makes or break tie, will be preceded by curtain Raiser pitting the merciless She Rugby Cranes against their Kenya counter parts.


Morocco2 1015
Uganda2 1104

By Ramathan Kasozi
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First published: September 9, 2006
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Ramathan Kasozi is a member of Ultimate Media Consult (U) Ltd. . A graduate Journalist, Kasozi has more than 5 years experience reporting on sports in Uganda for different print and broadcast media houses.