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Rugby Cranes Look Up to Elgon Cup for Redemption

After dropping to the lowest tier of international rugby, coupled with the resignations of the local rugby CEO and and national team manager, the Rugby Cranes will look up to the Elgon that kicks off next Saturday to clear egg on their face as Felix Eupal writes.

On Tuesday evening, the Rugby Cranes went through drills. They looked jolly and seem to love what they were doing. The disappointment of Tunis was finally washing off. The backs went through ball handling skills while the forwards worked on improving the scrums.

The field itself – Kyadondo – that will play host to the first leg of the Elgon Cup 2014 on Saturday July 12was undergoing some changes as the patches that didn’t have grass fenced off to ensure smooth full turf come D-day. Yesterday, the Union officially launched the tournament and confirmed its happening at Moringa Ogilvy offices in Bugolobi.

There were earlier doubts that the regional tournament contested between Kenya and Uganda would not take place due to Kenya taking part in the Rugby World Cup qualifiers. “This is a CAR-recognized event so, Kenya would not opt out because it also has an effect on the world ranking, they have confirmed participation,” Andrew Owor, the local rugby body president, told The Observer.

Rugby Cranes head coach Peter Magona has made a few changes as he hopes for his team to “put up a performance that will make the fans proud”.

Michael Wokorach, Allan Otim and Jasper Ochen have been dropped because they are part of the sevens team that will represent Uganda at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow later this month. In comes Chris Lubanga, Solomon Okia, Michael Tamale, Dennis Mugabe and Ronald Mussaja. Only Matthias Ochwo has been ruled out with an injury. With the recent drop to tier 1C, coupled with the fact that Magona’s reign has registered one win and six losses.

Magona, together with his coaching staff of Fred Mudoola and Herbert Wafula, has come under fire and winning the Elgon Cup has become the best step of restoring sanity. “I don’t know anyone who can confirm a result unless it is a very clear mismatch. But what we have done is ensure that we correct most areas to give it our best,” Magona explains.

On the Union side, struggling with a shoestring budget coupled with new adjustments, Owor confirmed that the resignation of Jacob Bukenya [CEO] and Brian Tabaruka [Team Manager] which has raised eyesbrows about him running a sinking ship, is not reason for worry. “The resignations were due to personal reasons brought about by the fact that these were voluntary posts and none of them were being paid,” Owor says.

As such, Ramsey Olinga has been appointed the new CEO while Emmanuel Mbaine is new team manager. The Rugby Cranes have lifted the Elgon Cup twice and definitely have their work cut out.

On Saturday, there will be three games with an Under-19s rolling off the action before the ladies and later the seniors.

Source : The Observer

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