Name: Josiah Ssempeke
Weight: 74 kgs
Current club: Kobs Rugby Club
Former club: Boks
Leadership roles: Vice Captain of Makerere College School (2016/2017), Captain of the Uganda U-20 Cranes – 2019.
National Engagements: E.A.C Games 2018 with the Sevens academy (winners) and the U-20 Barthes cup 2019 (runners up).
The name Josiah Ssempeke has been spoken of quite often in very recent history especially when it comes to youngsters that have lit up the local rugby scene in recent memory. From a high school sensation to a lad that has confidently raised his hand high to make a claim for the coveted Kob’s jersey number 10 – most notably with his performance against Pirates at Kings Park.
Josiah is from a family of four children; son to the late John K Ssentongo, a very popular name for those with Ngonian roots, he was the Deputy Headmaster of the great school for quite some time (may his soul rest in peace) and his mother; Rhoda Ssentongo. He went to Lohana Academy for primary school then Namilyango College for his O’level before finishing off at Makerere College School for his A’level.
”I got introduced to the game at a very young age (6 years). I used to watch the Namilyango Anchors train and play when my father was still the D/HM and I got attracted to the sport, that’s where I learned the passing and kicking”
“When my father found out that I was learning how to play rugby, he stopped me from going to the rugby pitch and told me to play soccer – he even bought me soccer equipment and sent me to a football academy.”
However, as destiny would have it, Josiah and rugby reunited in senior one when he was admitted to Namilyango college where he took on the sport with refreshed enthusiasm. He started out as a winger then later tried out as a scrumhalf before finding comfort at fly half because of his kicking abilities (probably from all the soccer in his anti-rugby years) and very good passing technique.
He played schools rugby to the fullest; winning trophies in the U-14 and U-16 categories in Namilyango College before going off to MACOS where he failed to win the U-19 trophy despite a spirited fight from his team that gave Namilyango a run for its money up to the last minutes.
“In S.5, I joined Boks and got groomed from there till I made my Kobs debut against Jinja Hippos.”
Life outside rugby
“I’m a student at Makerere University doing a Bachelors in Industrial and Organisational Psychology.”
“My first start for Kobs which was against the Black Pirates last season, and 2016 when MACOS beat Namilyango college in the Nationals Semifinal-(10-3).”
Josiah shares similar sentiment with many of his Kobs counterparts in what has been termed as the “doom of women’s day” – he didn’t wish to comment any further on the subject.
Life role model
“My late Dad, John Kenneth Ssentongo.”
Local : Joseph Aredo and Phillip Wokorach
International: Beauden Barret and Johnny Wilkinson
“I want to make the senior national teams (7’s and 15’s) and win titles with them, making Uganda a rugby super power.”
Message to upcoming players
“Work hard and believe in yourself and most importantly trust God with your journey.”
Message to fans
“Keep supporting the sport.”