Kobs stars dominate best 15
Posted Saturday, February 22 2014 at 02:00
The Nile Special Super 8 Rugby League is now like water under a bridge. It’s time to look back and evaluate the top performers of the campaign.
Kampala- With 112 games played in the entire season, we witnessed non-stop scintillating rugby for just under three months.
The action came with a full package of side steps, stools, hand offs, tackles and lots of brilliant plays. Below are the most outstanding players of the season, the majority of who turn out for DMark Kobs.
1. Timothy Kabonero (DMark Kobs)
The start to his Kobs career after moving from Makerere Impis in 2011 wasn’t the best. He struggled to hold his own especially on the second row. The lack of the players at some point pushed him to the front row.
Here, he has finally found his place and his consistency has kept the pack intact. Kabonero is a solid defender too.
2. Cyrus Wathum (Kobs)
Another youngster who has enjoyed his maiden season as a regular for Kobs and has not disappointed.
Drafted from Boks, the lad is one of the next big things in Ugandan rugby. Strong and industrious, accompanied with perfect line out throws, Wathum is now more than a full package.
Surely he has taken lessons from MTN Heathens and Rugby Cranes hooker Alex Mubiru.
3. Brian Odong (Kobs) Captain
When Odong was injured last year, Kobs’ scrum struggled even though he shouted himself hoarse on the touchline. It’s no coincidence that they look better with him fit.
A dominant front row with mercurial ball carrying skills, Odong is also the pivot that kept the Kobs’ machine rolling. For all his abilities, his five tries are few.
4. Ogwal Romano (MTN Heathens)
In the midst of Heathens falling apart like flowers in the summer, Ogwal stood his ground to cement his ‘best lock in the country’ tag.
His support play is everything you want in a player. Ogwal has also had to jump at line-outs with Mathias Ochwo out injured and you hardly felt a dip in performances.
5. Ramathan Govule (Kobs)
His mature displays make him one of the contenders for MVP. Rock solid in the line-out and the ability to beat defenders like a backline player have made him a nightmare for his opponents.
Govule crossed the line five times in his maiden season as a Kobs starter. His coach, Fred Mudoola, rates him highly.
6. Ronald Musajjagulanyago (Kobs)
Musajja is the most tenacious player in the league. He never ducks challenges as his character has improved following the persistence of Mudoola to field him.
Running off the blindside flank, Musajja scored 10 tries and this is the year when he should be considered to play for Uganda.
7. Roland Bahendeka (Heathens)
Bahendeka narrowly edges out Kobs’ Brian Asaba. Though both a stout defenders, Bahendeka has finally delivered following so many average years at G4S Pirates.
Heathens miss Ochwo but Bahendeka has taken the mantle and hole left by the Rugby Cranes captain. The curve is looking only up.
8. Scot Oluoch (Kobs)
A back rower suited for any forward role, Oluoch was Kobs’ standout forward for the just concluded campaign.
The best eighth man in Uganda is indefatigable. A tireless runner, Oluoch joined from Heathens and turned Kobs’ fortunes around.
9. Davis Kiwalabye (Kobs)
Kobs forwards, especially Oluoch, must love playing with Kiwalabye. Some call the scrumhalf who returned to Kobs after a stint with Pirates, an ATM.
He recycles the ball quicker than anyone and tackles like a lock when the opposition anticipates him as the weak link. Just don’t attack Kiwalabye with the ball. You could be embarrassed.
10. Ivan Magomu (G4S Pirates)
After missing out for most of the first round because of school, Magomu showed up for Pirates to revive their season in the second.
Pirates did not lose a game when Magomu was on the pitch and in that period he picked three man- of-the-match awards.
He made more line breaks by a fly half in the season. It is so sad he announced his retirement after the final game of the season against Mongers.
11. Eric Kasiita (Toyota Buffaloes)
Selecting Kasiita here probably represents the lack of wingers. Jonathan Onen has stagnated. Lawrence Wakabi, arguably the best wing, chooses when he wants to play.
Rhinos lack the killer instinct. Denis Etuket has lost his legs. Kasiita uses raw power to beat defenders and isn’t easy on the eye.
He is an excellent defender with fine tackles. Eight tries in the season is evidence of how he can transform defence into attack.
12. Alfred Bijik (Buffaloes)
How was Bijik not selected for the national team last year? They will say he was too young. He is now one year older and cries for him to start at 12 from now on will grow.
The Buffaloes captain, now a first year university student, broke the line like a poet except against Kobs who drew their game plan around suffocating him. Bijik was the calming presence and has improved his defensive game to become the complete centre.
13. Oscar Kalyango Oscar (Kobs)
If the Daily Monitor sports desk was to vote an MVP, Kalyango would win by a landslide. Now 23, the centre has done a 360-turnaround to become one of the very best.
Kalyango initially had a difficult time while starting on the Kobs’ wing but has found himself as a centre. Besides being a good defender even at a young age, his attacking has improved.
He finished the season with 11 tries, only behind teammate Kimono, also his closest friend at Kobs, and Arthur Mukama.
14. Justin Kimono (Kobs)
Kimono was so unlucky to miss out on setting a new record for most tries in a season but equaled legend Allan Musoke’s tally of 22 tries.
After carrying Kobs on his back for two years, Kimono is now receiving support and a rest is everything he deserves to lead the next chapter of their dominance.
15. James Odongo (Buffaloes)
When Odongo was handed the responsibility of filling in for Solomon Okia who had exams, he never looked back. He seized the opportunity. Okia found it hard to get back into the team.
In his first season, he touched down seven times to keep James Musiitwa out of this team only because the Rhinos’ fullback’s season ended early through injury.