Good news coming through the grapevines for the Walukuba Barbarians is that they will most likely remain in the top flight despite finishing rock bottom in the league. While our sources haven’t confirmed yet, this could be a move to expand the league to 12 teams in a bid to make the top flight expansive and more competitive.
Such a call would be a bonus for rugby in general; growing the sport in the other regions of the country starts by keeping them involved and interested at the big stage which allows these teams to learn closely from their central counter parts.
One would think of it as a case of rewarding poor displays – for a team that is at the bottom to be kept in the league but let’s face the facts, the Barbarians have shown incredible sportsmanship and fight; honoring all their games and putting up spirited displays against some of the country’s elite teams’ I don’t think it is time to let the men from Walukuba leave yet. The buzz created by Hippos and the Barbarians is significantly swaying the masses towards rugby.
The return of Impis
The return of the prodigal sons to the top flight is only a matter of time – the hunger to get back to the Nile Special premiership has seen them go unbeaten in the championship so far, clearly showing the rugby community that they don’t belong where they currently are. If they return to the league next season along with the Barbarians’ stay, this would strongly solidify our claims on the evolution to a 12 league team.
There are some points of inquiry however ;
- Which other team will complete the twelve ?
- How will that leave the championship?
In the first inquiry, the reader’s guess remains as good as ours because of the fact that some teams can’t get promoted due to their feeder nature i.e Boks, Stallions, Tigers etc, which leaves the teams from the north as a potential candidate along with the university sides. Fingers crossed, let’s await the outcomes.
In regards to the second inquiry, the championship’s format and organization has dwindled over the years, losing its competitive edge as a competent supplier of teams and talent to the premiership. Its ability to give high school rugby graduates a proper orientation of club rugby before they are thrown in the deep end of the top flight is an aspect that is crucial yet neglected.
University sides could be the answer to the championship issues in restoring a fierce competition to complement the senior league. We have universities across the country that all need to participate in activities that groom other aspects of their learners lives on top of much needed exposure for these institutions beyond the norm of education.
Rugby would be a great avenue for this because it is actually cost effective to sell the idea and partially facilitate these university sides with the help of their administrations rather than starting up totally new teams which is quite the bulk for the union at the moment to be honest. Schools like Uganda Christian university, Ndejje university, Kyambogo, Mbarara university of science and technology are already in the system, which is an added bonus in attracting other universities, stakeholders, players and fans to the sport from across the country.
In my opinion, universities are the future of a highly potent second division to boost the elite league and I strongly maintain that keeping the Barbarians for at least one more season in the top league will be good for development of the game in the east. A toast to a 12 team league.