Regardless of the 80 or so minutes played between Warriors and Kobs over the weekend in the Uganda rugby premiership, what will ring bells in many revelers minds are the many moments where hooliganism took over from sportsmanship.
Players and managers alike, let their morals out the window when hooliganism approached through the door. There is no need for sugar coating what it already is, and that is set to ruin the game loved by many, which had looked to have gained the traction and attention it needed in the country and beyond.
The first forty minutes were a show of impeccable and brilliant rugby with Warriors running at Kobs just as much as the Kobs repaid in the same kind, save for the time Joseph Oyet and Collin Kimbowa almost decided to throw on gloves against each other in the Warriors try area. Kobs were on top after the first period, leading 10-00 as the game went into the break.
Into the second half, the script totally changed. It was understood that Ronald Musajja was not cleared in time to face Warriors but he is seen to spend the greater part of the second period swinging a water bottle on the touchline opposite of the technical benches. At one instant, he steps onto the pitch and shoves Joseph Oyet away accompanied with luganda words “nja kukuba” loosely translated as “I will beat you.” This was where it all started to go down. Hooliganism, bullying and nerves took over, on and off the pitch.
The Warriors started to lose it on pitch. Oduka survived a sin-bin after he issued a high tackle on Conrad Mukwaya. Moments later, after a well secured from Kobs and several warnings from the center judge, Mandela goes out of position and kicks the ball out of play, is issued a yellow card, rightfully. Chiggas, too, got sent off moments later for coming from an offside and try to unsettle a ruck. Again, rightfully. There was a melee off the pitch and during this time, everyone lost track of the game. Neither of the adjudicators correctly got the timing. To explain this, Mandela’s sin-bin was elongated to more minutes than meant to, because the center referee and his touchline judge had different timers. A plethora of infringements later from the Warriors, James Ijongat, on his way to the try line was brought down with a high tackle and the referee decided he had enough of the Warriors unfair play and punished them with a penalty try, rightfully.
Off Pitch Chaos
Off the pitch, hooliganism was in high gear as Kobs player Adnan Mutebi poured beer on one of Warriors coaches, Gabriel Aredo. Aredo turned to confront him and it got ugly causing a brief pause in the game. In the same fracas, Coach Fred is seen to walk from the Kobs coaching bench and whacks a slap across Gabriel Aredo’s face before he is pulled away by concerned revelers. In all that, Warriors Juma Ochan also rushes from the touchline to attack Coach Fred Mudoola. Juma Ochan had no authority to leave the technical bench and go attack a coach in such a manner. No whatsoever.
In a game of winners and losers, it is certain that the loser will be left with a sour taste attaching to the closest authority and many felt center ref Anguyo did not have Warriors best interests with a couple of people heard in the camera audio trying to hurl insults at him alleging bribery. Gabriel Aredo and Coach Ivan Makmot are clearly heard expressing their dissatisfaction.
This is all hooliganism, manifesting in different forms and it is imperative that the concerned parties be dealt with rightfully. This brings back the memory of the time Zeno Othieno Owora was banned for allegedly pouring alcoholic substance on a rugby official. The same measures need to be taken in dealing with last weekend’s incident.
It had been a while since there were many many scenes and citations of such as was the case last weekend and the fact that many of the perpetrators from Saturday have a record of non-sportsmanship tendencies.