KAMPALA- The stakes were high. Betway Kobs came into their encounter against defending champions Stanbic Black Pirates on Friday with a two-point advantage over second-placed Hima Cement Heathens, well aware that a loss utterly hurts their title ambitions, as Heathens would be playing the following day.
But they were subjected to a painful 30-14 loss by a determined Sea Robbers side that came fighting from the first whistle.
Pirates showed much hunger to blitz past their hosts as early as the 11th minute when eighthman Desire Ayera burst over chalk after a well-worked scrum. Conrad Wanyama’s boot did the rest to give the defending champions a 7-0 score.
Wanyama later slotted a penalty to pile more misery on the men in blue. In the 20th minute, James Ijongat knocked on deep in Pirates’ territory. Timothy Odongo played to the advantage and released an on-rushing Ayera, who played in Timothy Kisiga for their second five pointer. From then it became a one-way route for Bobby Musinguzi’s boys as man-of-the-match Isaac Rujumba jotted down.
Clearly, Kobs were panicking. Both on and off the pitch. Towards halftime, their technical bench opted for early substitutions and positional switches, which also didn’t help matters.
Timothy Mudoola, Faraj Odugo and Allan Musoke replaced Roger Rukundo, Brian Opara and Adrian Kasito. The latter would later on step in for Ivan Kirabo at scrumhalf. Pirates were not fazed as fullback Haruna Muhammad booted a high ball, which Justin Kimono failed to collect under pressure from Odongo, and the youngster sprinted over to the corner.
Halftime score: 27-00. If anything, Kobs needed to address their mistakes during the breather. All season long, Kobs have had a dominant pack and they were surely going to need it to stand up.
Pius Ogena and Adnan Mutebi were added to the mix in places of Ronald Musajja and Collin Kimbowa. But Kobs were still committing unforced errors and Wanyama booted in another penalty. Kobs’ forwards only showed up in a maul which Odugo finished for their first points on the board. Joseph Aredo converted.
That reinvigorated their hopes and put up some pressure, with captain Brian Asaba touching down under the posts to make it an easy convertion by Aredo but time was running out.