Dam Waters in Jinja District will this weekend host the 2019 East Africa Junior Rugby Sevens tournament.
The annual event brings together girls’ and boys' teams from across the region with participating teams from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Malawi, who will compete at Under 15 and Under 18 levels.
A total of 28 teams have confirmed participation including; Mini Ladies Swans, Mini Jaguars and Blue Whales (all Under 15 girls’ teams from Entebbe); Kyadondo Rugby Club which will field both Under 15 and Under 18 boys and girls teams, Kiira Crocs and Jinja Lioness, which are expected to field Under 18 girls sides.
Other teams include; Shamas and Bungoma from Kenya, both expected to field boys’ and girls’ sides at Under 15 and Under 18 levels; and defending champions, Malawi Buffalos will filed boys and girls teams at both levels, among others.
Mr Saidi Atibu, Head Coach of the host team, Jinja Hippos, speaking to journalists at Busoga Forestry Company offices in Jinja on Wednesday, said: “A total 52 games are going to be played over the weekend.”
Key sponsors Coca Cola and Busoga Forestry Company Limited have implored the public to turn up in large numbers and support young Ugandan rugby talent.
“Coca Cola will be the official soft drink of the tournament; world over, Coca Cola has been associated with sports and rugby is no exception. On top of offering branding, we are going to offer water to match officials and to the participants.
“Come and support our teams as they battle those from Kenya and other countries. This tournament will act as a feeder system to clubs and the national team,” Mr Timothy Byaruhanga from Coca Cola said.
Mr Imram Nakueira, the deputy Managing Director Busoga Forestry Company Limited, said as a company, they are delighted to be involved as he sees parallels between their business and grassroots rugby.
“After all, you don’t get healthy sustainable forests and first class timber without first nurturing the young trees. It’s the same in rugby; excellence at the finish comes from support at the beginning,” he said.
Winners from each category will be awarded with a trophy, there will be a runners-up accolade and to encourage discipline, an award will be given to each disciplined team from all categories.