If you haven’t seen the 2018 Uganda Cup draws, here you go – the 15’s campaign which stretches well into next year, considering the league as well, is just around the corner. As usual, the top seeded sides get to play their first games away from home – this is aimed at promoting rugby across the various parts of the country and to give the lower ranked sides a reasonable fighting chance against the stronger visitors.
This year’s Uganda cup has some interesting match ups and surprise names that have been included in the 16 team round. Oh, in case I forgot to mention, Uganda cup is strictly a knock out competition at every round therefore no slip ups; purely elimination based rugby as per the result on the day, there are no excuses for not being set from the get go.
The Newbies on the block
This year, we have Soroti Rangers and Busitema University joining the fray – rugby seems to be pushing further east with a total of 4 teams from this region alone, a good sign for the union that the Eastern region is responding positively to the programs set in place. The Union should however note that these teams require assistance both monetary and equipment wise to help them compete favorably with their counterparts in the central region who possess the financial muscle and survival opportunities.
Busitema university is testament that the union should put more emphasis on universities to provide a wider player base, a larger number of teams for the various tournaments/leagues and added competition that is good for the sport.
Why Universities? : One might ask – well the availability of a reliable source of players every year that will continue to feed these teams and churn out more players for the country. There is also an organizational background to help manage these teams since they are institution based which is good for proper nurturing of talent.
Sadly, the newbies aren’t likely to make it past the first round this year as they face up hill tasks in their matches which is a sure case of no progress into the quarters for them (in my opinion). On the brighter side, once eliminated at this stage, these teams automatically move to the Shield quarter finals where they stand a more competitive chance.
The tricky draws
While some teams have mammoth tasks ahead, others have quite the unpredictable match ups in their midst:
- Impis vs Toyota Buffaloes – The Makerere side might have been relegated from the league but are sure to make a stern statement at their home ground “the graveyard”. If the rumors are anything to go by, then expect to see a depleted Buffaloes side that is alleged to have all its best players moved to the Heathens, which will make the contest a lot trickier.
- Rams vs Jinja Hippos – Hippos had quite the impressive end to their first season, securing safety from relegation way earlier than teams that had actually been in the league longer. They were thus granted the higher rank which pit them against familiar foes in form of the Makerere Rams. Both sides play in the elite league and know each other well enough – being at home gives Rams the advantage however as Hippos have to make the journey to Makerere for a tie they might not have fancied.
- Stallions vs Warriors – in all honesty, this is 75% a win in favor of the Warriors but the men in purple have had a topsy-turvy few months and we aren’t certain of what form they shall show on the day. The journey to Kyadondo won’t be easy to say the least, against a stubborn Stallions outfit that will be dying to prove their worth in front of the home faithful.
If the betting culture in local rugby was strong, these games would have the lowest odds for the travelling sides who are 99.98% expected to win their fixtures with the remainder kept for the sake of “anything can happen in sport and rugby is no exception.”
Kobs, Pirates, Rhinos, Heathens and Mongers travel to their destinations with demand for nothing less than victory and a resounding one at that.
Note : With the exception of a few games, nothing out of the norm is expected to transpire – normal proceedings shall take their course as we await some very interesting quarter final draws. Stay hooked to Kratos Sports for what’s to come next.