KAMPALA- The mere thought that the Rugby Cranes Sevens side fancy themselves for a place at the World Cup tells how fast the shorter version of the game in the country has improved after almost a decade of slumber.
Coach Tolbert Onyango deserves his share of credit for this revitalisation phase since his appointment in 2015.
It would be safe to take the Kenyan born coach serious if he said Uganda deserves and has what it takes to qualify for the 2018 Rugby Sevens World Cup at the iconic AT&T Park in San Francisco.
“We know the route there, win the Africa Cup and you are there,” he told Daily Monitor during the launch of the Africa Rugby Sevens Championship due on October 6-7 yesterday.
Uganda are defending champions of the Africa Cup and repeating the feat they achieved in Nairobi last year would guarantee Uganda their first World Cup appearance, something the ladies’ side achieved in 2007 in Dubai.
It would also take them on a familiar route of the HSBC Rugby Sevens Series Qualification.
Uganda will be seeded first when they host Tunisia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Madagascar, Senegal, Namibia, Morocco and Ghana for the continental showpiece to be hosted at Legends Rugby Club.
“We have tasted the international stage and we want more, we have what it takes to get to the World Cup and it’s what we are targeting when the Africa Cup starts,” added Onyango.
With Guinness coming on board with a Shs200m annual kitty for the sevens side, the financial burden will be sized down starting with a trip to Munich, Germany where Uganda will play in the Oktoberfest 7s to test how ready they are to defend their Africa Cup.
While a second place finish would ensure Uganda miss out on a trip to San Francisco, it would take them to the other side of the world in Australia for the 2018 Commonwealth games.
The Selected side is a familiar one with only 18 year old Black Pirates’ Desire Ayera joining without ever experiencing sevens rugby at the top level.
Brian Kikawa returns to the side after years of absence and he’s joined by James Ijongat.
Rugby Cranes’ Sevens team
Ramadhan Govule, Eric Kasiita (captain), Desire Ayera, Adrian Kasiito, James Ijongat, Michael Wokorach, Phillip Wokorach, James Odong, Timothy Kisiiga, Pius Ogena, Brian Kikaawa, Fred Odur.