Hunger for more accolades fuels Heathens grip
Posted Saturday, October 5 2013 at 01:00
Kampala- Their rivals know it is no longer funny as MTN Heathens look like they are not about to stop adding one piece of silverware after another to their trophy cabin. Whereas Heathens keep toasting to victory and rewriting records, it is a painful sight for those glancing at the happenings at Kyadondo Rugby Football Club (KYRFC).
Winning is all that matters but for their non-faithful, it is as boring as a predictable Spanish soap opera. This season they have made even the hard-nosed critics believe that they are the best local rugby franchise by a country mile.
They boast of 85 percent winning ratio in all competitions and their closest challenger is not anywhere in the picture. The Kyadondo-based franchise are certainly in a league of their own.
DMark Kobs is quickly becoming a no-challenger whereas G4S Pirates are the eternal nearly men of the game.
Toyota Buffaloes, another Kyadondo outfit, is the only side that looks like they are interested in taking on Heathens pound for pound.
Such is the scenario it has increasingly become impossible to single out a credible challenger that will bring a crushing end to Heathens hot streak of glory. But what makes them invincible? And why?
Structures at Kyadondo RFC
There is a ‘hold and never let go’ recruitment policy at Kyadondo RFC. Thanks hugely to the Uganda Trust Tag Rugby Fund. Rather than run down their lives as rascals, tag rugby has given the less privileged kids around Lugogo and Naguru a chance to bring out the best in them through rugby.
The programme has offered an unbreakable backbone to rugby development at Kyadondo and is solely responsible for the breakthroughs of Heathens and Rugby Cranes stars like Ronald Musoke, Benon Kiiza, Asuman Mugerwa, Jonathan Bishop Onen and Phillip Wokorach among others.
Heathens are fed with polished talent from KK Stallions via Buffaloes, who have lately proved to be a hard nut to crack.
The recruitment structure is paying dividends and Heathens are enjoying its fruits.
With more talent being unleashed every day, the yellow submarine is not about to sink.
Whenever Heathens lineup for any fixture, their squad boasts of an array of natural born leaders. Proven frontrunners like Alex Mubiru, Matthias Ochwo, Michael Wokorach and coach Brian Tabaruka have earned the Rugby Cranes captaincy mantle at different times.
The luxury of having know-it-all decision makers on and off the pitch gives Heathens’ less experienced recruits a variety of role models to look up at up to.
Such a presence of a multitude of leaders makes them the envy of their inconsistent challengers who can only look on in awe and disbelief.
X-Factor literally means the ability of one or a group of individuals to pull off extraordinary things consistently and that is what Heathens do.
Even when the odds are stacked against them, Heathens have made it a habit to emerge from tricky situations. Their bounce-back-ability is unquestionable and yet it is hard for their opponents to figure out where their next set of tries will come from.
Trend setters like Bishop Onen, Jasper ‘Bascut’ Onen and Michael Wokorach have ingrain abilities to single-handedly win matches and expose the weaknesses of an opponent any day. Heathens are just a special crop of quality and talent!
Their routine goes beyond training together, huddles and prayer before a rubber, hugs and high fives after accomplishing victory to sharing a good drink and hanging out together both in times of joy and sorrow.
They play selflessly for each other and it is the man in the best position that is always given the ball. The team takes pride in donning the yellow stripe and each player knows his role. Coach Tabaruka’s troops flow like a well-oiled machine and play without heaping too much pressure on their star players. There is empirical evidence that they have a different player-of-the-match while at other clubs if certain players don’t show up, their gameplay is piteous.
Fully fledged squad
The gigantic squad at Heathens’ disposal that creates stiff competition for places in the starting 15 has played an enormous role in their dominance. Each position bears at least two well-groomed players, who can play the role to the same satisfaction. An example of Benon Kiiza and Phillip Wokorach at fullback, Jasper Onen and Peter Lubanga at fly half, Brian Kikawa and Faisal Gamma at scrum half, Romano Ogwal and Grace Lubega at lock.
Their depth makes certain they are left unscathed in case of injuries and unavoidable absenteeism. On the other hand, Heathens’ rivals have to manage their thin and less talented squads with ultimate care throughout each gruesome season.
Long Kobs slump
The slump and crisis at DMark Kobs has also played a telling part in helping Heathens achieve the ‘unstoppable’ tag. Since 2009 when a hatful of experienced players like Rogers Rukundo, Edmond Tumusiime, Fred Mudoola, Adrian Bukenya and others, both prematurely and timely hang their boots, the rebuilding process at the Legends-based club has fallen short of expectations.
The transition has not been smooth.
Kobs have played second fiddle to Heathens since then. Heathens have won the league five times in a row and this season just got better after they added the Uganda Cup which had eluded them for some time.