The success of the Rugby Cranes at the Confederation of African Rugby (CAR) Africa Cup could come down to the wisdom used in recalling some of the old guard.
National coach Yayiro Kasasa has taken huge gambles in recalling forward Ronald Adigasi plus backs Edmond Tumusiime and Felix Lubega as he banks on their experience. A busy job at Entebbe Airport has restricted Adigasi, a tight head prop, to a handful of games in the league since his last appearance for Uganda last year.
The latter two are even bigger experiments despite being proven. Both last played for Uganda in the 32-22 win over Madagascar in 2008.
Fly-half Tumusiime went into mini-retirement and wing Lubega suffered double knee injuries. All three are showing positive signs of fitting in, again. “The knees are the least of my problems now. The training and games I have since May helped a lot,” Lubega, scorer of three tries in a trial game on Saturday, said. He has also played at centre for both G4S Pirates and more recently, aided Rwenzori’s charge to a first Bamburi Rugby Super Series final from midfield.
“I am quite confident. I will put up my best show ever,” he added. Unlike Lubega, who came off the bench as Uganda beat Madagascar 42-11 to win the competition back in 2007, Tumusiime, a starter then, has an even bigger cross.
His recall pushed Chris Lubanga out the team as the utl Kobs star shares the playmaking role with Ambrose Kamanyiire. The latter can also play at scrum-half. “The expectations will be high but I am pleased with where I am now,” Tumusiime, who is slowly shaking off a hamstring problem, said.
Rugby Cranes leave for Jemmel, Tunisia on Sunday with Kasasa acting as a lone ranger since his assistants will not make the trip north.
The team includes eight players who featured in the 2007 triumph including current skipper Mathias Ochwo. Adigasi, hookers Solomon Mawanda and Alex Mubiru (vice-captain), lock/flanker Joel Anguyo, utility back Anthony Kinene, Tumusiime, and Lubega are the other survivors.