Jinja Fun Rugby scores high, seek global recognition

Celebration time. Makaka players treat fans to a well-choreographed celebratory dance before receiving their awards on Friday. Photo/Fred Mwambu

What you need to know:

  • Walukuba and Street Bulls were a blend of their fans, officials and players who feature for Jinja Hippos in the Uganda Rugby Premiership and Walukuba Barbarians, who play in the Eastern regional league

Hundreds of fans who thronged Dams Waters grounds in Jinja on Saturday for the Jinja fun Rugby left contented with the fun and action showcased.
The event organised by the Jinja Rugby Club and sponsored by Uganda Breweries through their brand Guinness attracted 21 men’s and over 12 ladies teams climaxed later with a powerful performance by songstress Cindy Sanyu performing live.

Kenyan side Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST), playing under their pseudonym ‘Makaka’, proved too strong for the rest. On their way to winning, they crashed home sides Walukuba and Street Bulls in the semi-final and final. 
 
Walukuba and Street Bulls were a blend of their fans, officials and players who feature for Jinja Hippos in the Uganda Rugby Premiership and Walukuba Barbarians, who play in the Eastern regional league.
“We came to test ourselves against some top players from Uganda and we achieved that,” Veron Kaburu, captain of the MMUST that was recently promoted to play in the Kenya Cup said after the victory.

“This is a good initiative and we intend to be regular participants. It will be good to see big players joining the fans to play so that they understand the game better as well as growing the rugby fan base. We came, played, had fun and are returning victorious.”
Amazon from Njeru beat Walukuba 28-0 to win the women’s chapter. The winners in both categories were awarded one million shillings by the sponsor Guiness.

International recognition
Jinja North legislator Timothy Batuwa, a long-time rugby fan who was guest of honour, urged the organisers to push the idea beyond the country and make it an international event that can promote sports tourism in Jinja City.

“This is a massive event that has attracted sports lovers from far and wide, we need to push it as one of the tools to promote tourism in Jinja and Busoga at large,” Batuwa told Daily Monitor on the sidelines of the event. 

“Big brands like Guinness want to associate with big events and this shows the work that has been put to rise to this level.”
The Friday event was the 17th edition of the Jinja Fun Rugby that was started in 2003.
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