With the Gold Coast edition of the commonwealth games looming, let us look through the rugby lives of the last team to represent Uganda.
Uganda took part in the 2014 games where they lost to Australia and England before beating Sri Lanka. Under coach Tolbert Onyango, Uganda was represented by Phillip Wokorach, Micheal Wokorach, Allan Otim, Lawrence Ssebuliba, James Ijongat, Eric Kasiita, Jasper Onen, Emmanuel Ecodu, Alfred Bijik, Ramadhan Govule, Phillip Pariyo and Benon Kizza.
1. Phillip Wokorach
After the 2014 games, the goose-stepping gem made himself a mainstay in the Heathens team winning at least 3 Uganda Cup trophies and 2 domestic titles between then and his move to Kenya. In Kenya, Phillip has continued to dominate, winning the Kenya Cup with Kabras, the 7s series and being voted MVP in 2017. He has since featured for Uganda in the HSBC series making a remarkable debut in 2016 and continuing to impress in 2017 before his injury ruled him out of action for two months.
2. Michael Wokorach
Michael remains an immovable name on team sheet of the local league defending champions, Hima Cement Heathens. He relentlessly wears the armband of the Kyadondo based rugby side with whom he has won a myriad of honors, personally and collectively. Michael was instrumental in securing Commonwealth games for Uganda this year as it was his power run that set Adrian Kasiito loose on his way to the try that would win the Africa 7s finale with practically the last play of the tournament.
3. Lawrence Ssebuliba
The quick footed winger is another loyal servant of the Hima Cement Heathens who was instrumental in his side’s winning the title in 2017. He has played for the country at many levels and most recently broke the country’s deadlock as far as scoring tries was concerned at the most recent edition of the Cape Town 7s of the HSBC World Series.
4. Kasiita Eric
Eric has continued to ply his local rugby trade with the Kyadondo based Toyota Buffaloes. He has skippered Uganda to back-to-back Africa 7s triumphs making sure his charges are the reigning and defending 7s rugby champions on the continent. On top of the Africa 7s exploits, Eric has captained the 7s Cranes to back-to-back Dubai and Cape Town 7s series.
5. James Ijongat
The utility back has reinforced his position with the Betway Kobs as a mainstay performer of the most successful club in local rugby. He had a horrendous injury in 2016 no thanks to the Hong Kong 7s but has since recovered and regained full confidence.
6. Jasper Onen
The stout halfback, aka “Baskut” switched allegiances from Heathens where had won everything there was to win in the local calendar to Rhinos as part of the rebuilding process after the oil money from Shell Rimula started trickling in.
7. Allan Seamus Otim
The veteran utility back has been a constant feature of the defending champions, Hima Cement Heathens and has also won a host of accolades with the Kyadondo based team.
8. Emmanuel Ecodu
Emmanuel has continued to serve the 2016 champions, Betway Kobs but an unlikely injury to the jawbone has seen him enjoy the game from the comfort of the stands or the TV screens most recently.
9. Ramathan Govule
Govule who could possibly play 11 of 15 positions on the rugby field was part of the Betway Kobs squad that won the league in 2016 and has represented the country at numerous levels before he took it upon himself, in the company of Fred Odur and Brian Kikaawa to disappaear in Germany at the end of the OktoberFest 7s in 2017. He has since been understood to be comfortable in Germany having sought asylum too. He has since turned out for Munich RFC alongside Kikaawa and Odur.
10. Benon Lukoma Musoke Kizza and Phillip Pariyo
Benon Kizza and Pariyo made new for all the wrong reason shortly after the end of 2014 Commonwealth games in Glasgow when they disappeared from the Uganda camp in the Commonwealth village. They sought political asylum in Cardiff, as they had started playing for a local club, St Peters Rugby Football Club.
Phillip Pariyo currently features for Bedwas RFC in Wales as a winger.
11. Alfred Bijik:
The former school’s rugby champion with Hana International, and utility back for Toyota Buffaloes has since gone under the radar but was understood to have settled in the UK after a successful Tag Rugby journey with the young contingent that trains at Kyadondo Rugby club.