With the loss to Kenya, Uganda’s hopes of representing the continent in the global showpiece that is the World Cup in Japan in 2019 seems to be out of the window, mathematically, a feat which is never in favor of the Cranes.
The Cranes were mauled 55-06 in Namibia in June in their first game of the Gold Cup and needed to win the rest of their games (four) to guarantee a place in the repechage qualifier tournament to say the least, from where they could possibly advance to the group stages.
The winner of the Gold Cup is assured of a place in Group B through automatic qualification as Africa 1 alongside defending champions New Zealand, African giants South Africa and Italy. Coincidentally, the winner of the repechage tournament qualifier joins the teams in Group B.
Namibia are in commanding lead of the log, with maximum points (15) in three games with Kenya following closely on 12 points from three games.
The rugby Cranes, who sit bottom of the log have played two games thus far and have three games left to play, all at home in August. The competition is on pause with the Rugby 7s World Cup and will resume in August.
The Cranes host Tunisia on 4th August, Morocco a week later and Zimbabwe to close this year’s competition, teams they have to beat with maximum bonus points to stand a chance of advancing to the repechage qualifier tournament while hoping Kenya will falter against Namibia and Tunisia.
With the top spot out of reach, the Cranes have their hopes hanging thin on the possibility of two losses to the Kenyans Simbas in their remaining two games with the former hoping to win their three remaining games with huge margins.
Kenya might fall to Namibia but are more than definite favorites against Tunisia on 11th August in Nairobi and Coach Duncan understands Uganda’s hopes of making the World Cup have waned. “That (qualifying for World Cup) was obviously one of the goals. We control our own destiny and we did not get there but by the end of the day, we are still a good team. It is a pleasure to coach this group but at the end of the day, it is not the result we wanted,” remarked a remorseful John Duncan in a post-match interview.
Uganda sit on the bottom of the log, replacing Tunisia who were 18-14 winners against Zimbabwe in Casablanca this past weekend. Tunisia is on four points and in third place, overtaking Morocco and Zimbabwe who are both on three points.
Namibia is away to Zimbabwe on 4th August while Kenya host Tunisia on 11th August before they travel to Windhoek to face Namibia in what should be the biggest game of the Gold Cup this year, on the last match day of the competition (18th August).
Africa Gold Cup Standings as of July 7
August 4, 2018
Uganda vs Tunisia 3pm
Zimbabwe vs Namibia 5pm
Kenya vs Tunisia 2pm
Uganda vs Morocco 4pm
Uganda vs Zimbabwe 3pm
Namibia vs Kenya 5pm
Tunisia vs Morocco 7pm