Another year, another Ugandan tour for United States International University-Africa (USIU)’s rugby team who will be playing a select President’s XV this Saturday at Kings Park Arena.
The 24 man team named Presidents XV, subject to the exclusion of one prior to the game tomorrow is a mixture of experience and youth and it is going to to be up for scrutiny one way or another.
Presidents XV :
1. Ivan Kabagambe 2. Ronald Kanyanya 3. Gideon Kalyango 4. Arthur Mpande 5.Wilobo Mukili 6.Simon Olet 7.Peter Tinashe 8.Desire Ayera 9.Paul Epilo 10.Aaron Ofoywroth 11.Kelvin Balagadde 12.Ian Munyani 13.Jordan Bongomin 14.Daudi Semwami 15.Maxwell Ebonga
16. Faragi Odugo 17.Collin Kimbowa 18.Ivan Wavamunno 19.Akera Komakech 20.Timothy Komakech 21.Timothy Mugisha 22.Allan Omoding 23.Joseph Oyet 24.Robert Masendi
Chance for redemption:
In the bracket of redemption clearly fall Arthur Mpande and Aaron Ofoywroth. Aaron Ofoywroth fell out of favor with Kenya Harlequins and it is increasingly looking like his contract with the Kenyan outfit will not be renewed. With his depth of experience, it is a good chance for the half-back to put a bad few months behind him and get some good rugby minutes under his belt. In the same caliber as Aaron is Arthur Mpande. Mpande was a national team squad regular in 2017 but things took a turn for the worse for the greater part of 2018 which saw him and his club Rhinos struggle on and off the pitch. Appearances on the Presidents XV is probably what these two need to elevate their confidence levels. Ofoywroth and Mpande have no business on this team nonetheless, because for starters, Ofoywroth is not Magomu’s understudy. This was the kind of game where Uganda’s #3 flyhalf would have been given a start. Oh yeah, Robert Masendi is not supposed to be on this team either.
Misplacement central or nah:
The absence of Gold Cup this year has probably given selectors the lease to select anyhow. Wilobo Mukili, a strong and ardent performer for the Betway Kobs in the front-row has had his build thrown into second row, where he will be locking alongside Arthur Mpande. Mukili has been a bullish prop for the Kobs. Kelvin Balagadde, Buddu 7s Finals MVP and set-piece general has been ricocheted into the back three from his favored back-row position. This is a positional selection many revelers want to see unfold.
About damn time:
Looking at the front-row, the picks are spot on. Kabagambe is a blooming unplayable forward for the pirates, Ronald Kanyanya made Heathens faithful forget about Alex Mubiru when he actually added running to his attacking. Gideon Kalyango Mutesasira hasn’t been playing rugby for longer than three years but one look at him playing and you’d argue he has played for his entire life. His game awareness and work-ethic were a compliment to the big forward-line of the Warriors.
Selectors were worried about Daudi Semwami’s ability to stay for two months but a blistering end to the Kenya Cup in the absence of William Ambaka for the Harlequins was a blessing in disguise as he will be wearing black-yellow-red for the President’s XV this Saturday. Maxwell Ebonga had a mixed intro into international colors against the French Pacific Army in March and he now has a chance to silence doubters of his potential.
USIU Rugby XV:
1. George Muyomba, 2. Kagimu Joseph (VC), 3. Ochieng George, 4. Lusweti Manyasi, 5. Baya Umfana Philip, 6. Wafula Isaac, 7. Nyote Wakanyote, 8. Joe Awori, 9. Charles Kuka, 10. Venswa Martin, 11. Musa Shabani, 12. Muinde Makau, 13. Mulakoli Eliud (C), 14. Okoth Fred, 15. Kiragu Godfrey
16. Kiriro Sam, 17. Kimanzi Mati, 18. Allan Odiyo, 19. Eric Ochieng, 20. Rakira Sydney, 21. Den Hure