As the rugby fraternity prepared for the 2018/19 season, news of Pius Ogena’s release from Kenyan side Kabras Sugar filtered through.
Hima Cement Heathens were favourites to bring him back ‘home’ to Kyadondo but somehow rivals Betway Kobs pounced and got him to commit.
Ogena was coming off an impressive international campaign in the Rugby Africa Gold Cup - thus making his signature one of the most sought after. He found himself in a tough place, having to choose between familiar Heathens and Kobs.
“It was a hard decision to make on my own, I had to talk to some people who helped in arriving at the final decision,” recalls Ogena. Kobs were in a dire need of a big name to challenge for honors after a trophy-less campaign the previous year that was dominated by Black Pirates.
New poster boy
But like Kobs, Heathens needed a revamp and Ogena was the perfect face as they looked to bury the embarrassment of finishing fifth, their worst show since the league’s inception.
It’s no surprise the move did not go down well with majority of the Kyadondo faithful. “Some supported it but others did not. They said it was a bad move because I was walking away from home,” added Ogena.
In his first season at Kobs, Ogena won the Uganda Cup, the National Sevens Circuit where he was voted Most Valuable Player and helped Kobs to a second place finish in the Nile Special Premiership. It was a good return with him also crowned Uganda Sports Press Association (Uspa) Rugby Player of the Year ahead of Phillip Wokorach and Adrian Kasito.
“It was a great season indeed. I found no difficulty in adapting. I had lined up with most Kobs players like Justin Kimono, Brian Odongo, Kasito, Ian Munyani, Collin Kimbowa and Timothy Mudoola for Uganda,” he said.
Ogena’s second season with Kobs was cut short by the Covid-19 pandemic but he had already bagged the Uganda Cup. During Heathens-Kobs ties, Kyadondo fans always scream ‘come back home’ when Ogena is involved in a play.
The flanker-cum-center has not ruled out returning in future.
“Just like I never thought I would end up at Kobs , Kyadondo is home. It’s where it all began. Let destiny play its part,” explained Ogena.
The lad who grew up idolising Heathens’ legendary pair Robert Seguya and Mathias Ochwo has had his fair share of injuries with his left ankle proving to be a recurring problem.Ogena advises his peers to take good care of their bodies with proper strength and conditioning, good nutrition on top of getting a good rest.
Name: Pius Ogena
Club: Betway Kobs
Position: Utility player
Former clubs: Toyota Buffaloes, Kabras Sugar
Roll Of Honours: Africa 7s champion (2016, 2017), Africa Tier B U-19 champion (2014), Africa Tier B winner with Rugby Cranes (2015), Uganda Cup winner (2018 & 2019), National Sevens Circuit winner (2014 & 2019)
Strengths: Power Runner, Tenacity, Hard Tackler