KAMPALA. Uganda Lady Cranes final team of 12 players enters residential camp today at Allianz Hotel-Bweyogerere in preps for the Rugby Africa 7s, which also doubles as a 2019 Tokyo Olympics Qualifier due October 12–13 in Tunisia.
Coach Helen Koyokoyo Buteme has three players who will be making their 7s debuts in Thunderbirds’ Agnes Nakuya and the Black Pearls pair of Lydia Namabiro and Racheal Mufuwa.
Twelve countries are taking part and Uganda, who finished second after losing last year’s final to Kenya, are pooled alongside Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa and will open their campaign against tournament favorites South Africa.
The teams are seeded according to last year’s Africa 7s standings. Thus Uganda is ranked second while South Africa’s Women Springboks, who did not participate in the 2018 edition, are ranked 11th and Ghana, taking part for the first time, are ranked 12th.
Buteme knows that her team has not had the best of preparations but expects them to push to their limits.
“We have not had build-up tournaments. Since Hong Kong, we have not trained or played together as a team, which makes it a bit difficult going into such a high stakes tournament. But despite all that, we have tried our best to cover a lot of things and the girls are looking good,” she said.
While in camp, Buteme will have a chance to work with her players twice a day. The tournament winner qualifies directly for Tokyo, while the second and third placed teams proceed to a global repechage tournament.
Players in camp: Agnes Nakuya, Charlotte Mudoola (captain), Emilly Lekuru, Flavia Agenorwot, Gilder Azikuru, Grace Auma (assistant captain), Immaculate Mufuwa, Lydia Namabiro, Mary Gloria Ayot, Peace Mirembe, Proscovia Ayero and Racheal Mufuwa.