The inaugural four-franchise national Super Series kicked off with a great deal of pomp and fanfare at Kyadondo Rugby grounds last Saturday.
This weekend promises another dose of fanfare when Protector takes on Crocs as Magicians entertain Fimbo. Felix Eupal looks at the wave of hope that has been stirred by the competition. Andrew Owor, the Uganda Rugby Union president, may have egg in the face over the controversial relegation of Entebbe Mongers but he has hit the bull’s eye with the Super Series. For the first time in Ugandan rugby, the traditional Rwenzori and Victoria franchises that have represented the country since the inauguration of the Bamburi series in 2006 were scarped for a new format.
In the layout, none of the national team players are allowed to feature in any of the franchises and only the other players that have been left out of the national sides are allowed to participate. Neighbours Kenya apply the same system which lets them have a constant supply chain to their national team and helps them have a second string side that ably competes at any level.
So, with the help of UYMG under their Protector condoms, the idea was brought to life. Four franchises were formed Crocs featuring players from Dmark Kobs, Mutoni Warriors and XFM Impis and led by Allan Musoke as head coach, Fimbo made up of players from G4S Pirates and Easy Money Rhinos and coached by Sam Ahamya, Protectors made up of Heathens and Buffaloes and coached by Robert Seguya, Magicians made up of Mongers, Stallions, Heathens and Buffaloes coached by O’Brian Tindi.
All the franchises are to play in a round robin format with the top two getting to represent Uganda at this year’s Bamburi series. The series also have been reduced from the traditional eight teams, to six.
There were concerns that there would be confusion on the side of the fans but Owor argues: “When someone has been following the game, it is not hard, these are not new players, it’s just that they don’t get a chance to compete at this level. So we are giving them that chance”.
Despite the teams having only one week to practise, they proved that they would provide the answer to the continuity question and the tired bodies on the Rugby Cranes squad because already players such as Solomon Okia (Protector and Buffaloes), Michael Omolu, a tag rugby graduate now with Warriors, Eric Butime and Joseph Oyet showed flashes of brilliances and skill to be drafted into the national side.
Musoke who is cutting his teeth f,or a new career as a coach, believes, “it is the best opportunity to expose new kids and get them to believe that they can play at any level”.
The series return next weekend to choose who will be in the driving and no player on the national team will be drafted in the franchises that will emerge victorious.
Source : The Observer