New Vision reports
( Look, I am a Kiwi and it is a rugby story )
Rugby Cranes reap rewards for preparation
Uganda v Kenya
THAT historic away win in 2006 was repeated on Saturday when the Rugby Cranes beat Kenya 16-17 in the bruising first leg of the Elgon Cup at the Moi International Sports Center in Kasarani.
Seven years on from that famous 22-0 win which was followed by a 7-7 draw in Kampala, the team captain Peter Magona is now the head coach while prop Fred Mudoola is now his assistant
Kenya enjoyed a better preparation with superior coaches including South African Jerome Paawater assisted by former springbok’s tactician Peter De Villiers but all this could not stop a determined Rugby Cranes from snatching victory.
The team spirit was high and the boys had self-belief which was complimented by the experienced players including scrum half Robert Sseguya, the captain Alex Mubiru, Marvin Odong, Bishop Onen and Ronald Adigas.
“Bano tubasobola, temutya tufanabo olwalero,” loosely translated to mean ‘we can manage them don’t get intimidated’ was Mubiru’s battle cry before kickoff.
The splendid team work between the management group of the three coaches Peter Magona, Fred Mudoola and Herbert Wafula with the support of the Union is highly commendable.
“We have to commend the coaches for the job well done but the entire team has been working together as one and that improved our team’s confidence,” team manager Brian Tabaruka stated.
Empowering the players
Tabaruka further explains that the technical team has empowered the players to shwcase the best of their ability by handling them on an individual basis both technically and psychologically which has built up their confidence.
Taking stock of past mistakes
Kicking and ball handling were much emphasized during preparations and this put Uganda ahead of Kenya on the pitch as there were few penalties committed compared to Kenya.
Despite a wet day of rain, there were less than three knock-ons which proved that the team had solved the traditional mistakes of handling errors thus being penalized less than the opponents.
That Bishop Onen managed to score four penalties out of the five proved that the team had taken care of the kicking problem which had haunted them over the years.
“I regularly trained and the coaches emphasised on the kicking before and after training daily and we benefited,” Onen confirmed the development.
Hunger for victory
According to team captain Alex Mubiru, the boys didn’t rely on self-belief alone but also had the hunger for victory. That coupled with the desire to stand and be counted in history is why they defended every point scored like their lives depended on it to the last minute collectively as a team.
Familiarity with the floodlights
Several players played under floodlights before and despite little preparation and the occasional outages during the game that left the lighting dim, the boys remained focused.
“We played some of our games in Tunisia last year under floodlights and some boys had played Safaricom 7s on floodlit pitches so it was not new to us,” Mubiru added.
Despite Uganda’s win, the tie is far from over and we can expect the Kenyans to arrive in Kampala determined to avenge and this should give the three wise men (Magona, Wafula and Mudoola) on the technical bench no time to rest.
They are set to review footage of the game today with all the players expected at Kyadondo to resume training ahead of the Saturday’s showdown.