KAMPALA- Charles Onen landed the approval he had craved for long in March when he was confirmed Lady Cranes Sevens coach and at the same time, Leonard Lubambula’s deputy in the Test set-up.
“It really means a lot to me because I have always extremely worked hard to develop players and my coaching passion,” said the Level 2 certified coach, who doubles as a referee.
Onen is another Kyadondo story, bred and groomed there, through the system. He has excelled as a player, coach and referee. A Rugby Sevens Cranes call up, silver medal in the league with Buffaloes in 2013 and a national rugby Sevens winner’s medal in 2014 before a nagging knee injury opened up his coaching and refereeing chapters.
Years of budding talent at Kyandondo via Thunderbirds and the junior sides have prepared him for the big job that has a backlog of issues both on and off pitch. One of his fore tasks is to help create a harmonious Cranes environment with less fuss but acceptance. “It’s quite a challenge but I have worked with most of the ladies before and for long,” Onen revealing that he has a plan.
Onen has been around the both Sevens and 15s camps before, giving talks at the end of his Sevens predecessor Helen Buteme’s sessions at Kings Park in Bweyogerere. He will feel at home but face similar constraints like those before him. “The team getting enough exposure and tournaments because this builds up the players’ confidence and experience to compete at the higher levels,” is one of Onen’s wishes but he must keep in mind it was Buteme’s too. They both share passion for the game and work hard to see more girls playing the game.
The Covid-19 pandemic has already robbed him of his induction year in both codes but he can keep counting his blessings.