Black Pearls land Kenya invitation
What you need to know:
- Lone Africa, their sponsors, and Black Pirates, their parent team, have had a huge and long hand in making this trip possible as reward for the team's recent defence of their league, in a campaign that saw them go unbeaten the whole season
It's not many times that you see Ugandan sports teams crossing borders to play friendly matches. Moreso, in rugby, and to be specific, women's rugby.
That, alone, makes Black Pearls' trip to Kenya a very huge deal. Fresh from bagging the URU Central 15s league earlier this month, the Black Pearls have left for Kenya to face Impala Roans in an invitational friendly match on Saturday.
Lone Africa, their sponsors, and Black Pirates, their parent team, have had a huge and long hand in making this trip possible as reward for the team's recent defence of their league, in a campaign that saw them go unbeaten the whole season.
Helen Buteme, the team’s founder, coach and player, is over the moon. She knows the reapings.
"Here we play against the same opponents every time we step on the pitch. And we've worked hard to the extent of knowing that we are superior than our local competitors so we really needed to look elsewhere for a whole different challenge," she explained.
Roans, alongside Mwamba, are the biggest teams in Kenyan women's rugby and the test will obviously be a tough, albeit a welcome one, for the Ugandans.
They will have the opportunity to play outside their comfort zones. Buteme, who's been in Kenya many times as a player and coach in the past, knows what it means playing against tough opponents and before rowdy, intimidating fans.
"It's going to be a whole new experience for most of our players. Some have never played a game outside the central region in Uganda. This will help in their development, especially the mental bit of it. Kenyan teams are tough and we are relishing the experience. We shall keep looking towards more opportunities of this kind, going forward," added Buteme.
The trip, Buteme says, was supposed to happen last year but the stringent travels protocols resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic made the whole thing expensive and out of reach.
Better late than never.