Clashes between Kobs and Heathens are the kind that are best defined with high emotions, adrenaline rushes, anxiety and lots of points to prove both on and off the pitch. These two teams have dominated the Ugandan rugby scene for so long that it is hard to know any other team unless you’re an avid follower of the game in Museveni’s Uganda.
The accolades have been shared between the two for many years with Heathens and Kobs both having a fair share of the reign at the rugby summit up until last season when Pirates came to the party.
Whether you have an allegiance to either team or simply neutral, one thing that can’t be denied is that whenever the two meet, it is a spectacle to watch.
In deeper observation, however, there has been a trend that Kobs will be desperate to extinguish, Heathens has always been the boogie side that limits Kobs whenever it matters – can the Blue army finally rid themselves of this psychological block that makes the Kobs fail to reach their full potential whenever the two meet in a do or die scenario.
It’s been the case in recent seasons where Heathens hasn’t been at its best but still manages to outdo Kobs, sometimes even at their own home ground. The Kyadondo side has mastered the art of beating the Kobs whenever they choose – even when the Kyadondo side are having the most mediocre of seasons, something within them switches on when the two sides meet.
Of course, there is a section of fans and rugby followers that believe that Heathens gets a helping hand from the match officials – whether true or not, this is a conspiracy for another day as nothing holds water until evidence is put on the table.
Saturday is a golden opportunity for the blue army to exorcise the demons that let them bow to Heathens even when the Kobs is the better team. Both teams have recruited significantly with Heathens stripping the Buffaloes of many of their key studs while the Kobs have been on a fine tuning mission to galvanize the team that was very much below their lofty standards last season.
Charles Uhuru and Simon Olet Diego provide much needed industry in an aging forwards pack at Heathens, Robert Masendi reduces on the responsibility and workload of the veteran Chris Opa Lubanga while Paul Masendi, Jordan Bongomin and Pius Ogena who is yet to feature will provide much needed cover in the absence of the lynchpin Michael Wokorach.
Kobs Rugby has also added some steel to their ranks with Robert Aziku who brings a wealth of set piece experience from international duty, Joseph Aredo returns from Kenya, providing both X-factor and maturity from his time away, former Heathens and Rhinos man Jasper Ochen is also rumoured to be in the ranks and young sensation at fly half – Donald Oketayot will be providing much needed half back cover that he doubles up with an educated boot. The legendary Rukundo also returns to teach the youngins how things have to be done the Kobs way as well.
On paper, the Kobs seem to have the upper hand but derbies are tricky. However, there is need for change in mindset, Kobs have the home advantage and the fire power. I strongly believe that Kobs will be the Uganda cup champions of 2018 provided they dispatch their stubborn rivals on the weekend.