The Gold cup is back in full swing – for the next three weekends, the boys will be representing on the home turf infront of the faithful. Qualification for the Rugby World cup 2019 is a long shot for the Cranes but there is still plenty to play for.
Among the reasons to fight are pride, ranking, regaining confidence and consolidating their place in the Africa tier 1A group, we need to keep rugby relevant and that’s by continuing to compete at the pinnacle of African Rugby.
That being said, it all starts this Saturday 4th August against Tunisia at Kyadondo. Coaches John Duncan and Robert Sseguya have called up an extended group to choose from with the game day squad to be revealed on Thursday, a day before the captain’s run.
Some old campaigners return to the fold in the form of Chris Lubanga, Gamma Faisal and Arthur Mukama with the likes of Komakech Akera and Joseph Oyet one step closer to making their debuts.
Here is how i would have my team line up to effect full punishment on the visiting Tunisians;
- Asuman Mugerwa (Prop – 1)
The Kabras power house is the captain of the boys, leading from the fore. In a year that has seen so many injuries and retirements, he is the last of the front row old guard that has been of service; with Brian Odongo out on injury recovery and Alex Mubiru MIA for some reason, Asuman brings a wealth of experience to the front three.
- Paul Ssekatte (Hooker – 2)
A position that hasn’t had anyone own it ever since the exit of Alex Mubiru, i have decided to choose Paul Ssekate who despite having a torrid game in Nairobi is the most fitting candidate to do the job, and when all the boxes are ticking in his favour – he can be a real handful for the opposition especially with ball in hand, playing like a backrower.
- Martial Tchumkam (prop – 3)
The Rhinos prop makes a return to the starting line up, completing the front three – he returns to the fold after being away due to work commitment. His return makes him a no brainer for his scrummaging and ball carrying that will give Uganda the opportunity to exert themselves in the department of physicality.
- Charles Uhuru (second row -4)
The senior lineout caller of the team is a sure pick, not only for me but for the coaches too (i guess). Industrious in defense and providing support play which explains his unusual try count for a man of his position. I see no one else donning the #04 jersey while he is fully fit.
- Emong Eliphaz (second row – 5)
When fully fit, the Kabras man can be the oppositions worst nightmare. I have chosen to go with the former Rams man because he provides options at line out and ball carrying with his size and raw power. Robert Aziku will give cover at second row.
- Byron Oketayot (Number six)
The Rhinos man put up a very impressive show in the 7s World cup and looks to be destined to solve our woes at blindside flank. The transition of Pius Ogena into a first centre and the alarmingly poor performances of Ronald Musajja have left the number 6 shirt vacant. Byron Oketayot gets the nod for me ahead of Musa Muwonge and can own the number if he wants it.
- Brian Asaba (Number seven)
Among the senior figures in the camp, the man who in my opinion is a natural blind side has been immense in the number 7 shirt. Ball carrying, tackling, support play, useful at the line out – is there anything this man can’t do. His maturity and game understanding have made him fit into the open side position well, knowing where to be has made him an asset for the team and an outright selection
- Arthur Mukama (Number eight)
The absence of Marvin Odongo due to injury and Scott Oluoch due to failure to reach favorable personal terms with the national team management, has left the number eight shirt wide open. The return of Arthur Mukama to full training makes him the best candidate for the position. He is a former cranes player and boasts a wealth of experience in the position that could prove very useful.
- Aaron Ofoirwoth (scrumhalf)
The Kyadondo graduate turned superstar has grown from strength to strength, impressing both on the 7s and 15s platforms. The Kenya Harlequins half back has made the number 9 shirt his own, leaving others to fight for a slot on the bench. Definitely my pick due to his very mature decision making and execution for a man of his young age.
- Ivan Magomu (flyhalf)
There is no discussion here – the man’s reputation speaks for itself. Though there are rumours that the coaches might make the change. Why they would do that is still a mystery to me – we shall cross that bridge when we get there.
Centres (12 and 13)
Pius Ogena and Michael Okorach remain my main picks for the midfield as i look at experience in what is the most delicate area in the back line. A centre combination that doesn’t get along can lead to a team’s downfall. I expect the two to feature with Ian Munyani providing cover from the bench.
Back three (11, 14, 15)
Justin Kimono , James Odongo and Phillip Wokorach are my prefered back three – James provides solid defence and cover at full back when Phillip goes on the offence, Justin Kimono will do his usual hard ball carrying and Phillip will initiate the counter attacks from the back to hurt the opposition on top of his kicking duties. Adrian Kasiito will provide cover for the back three.
- Joseph Tamale
- Collins Kimbowa
- Santos Senteza
- Robert Aziku
- Musa Muwonge
- Conrad Wanyama
- Ian Munyani
- Adrian Kasiito
My two cents – Akatimba Sports