Mugisha relishing new rugby waters

Getting started. Mugisha will be a rookie in Merseille but the Pirates centre believes he can give a good account of himself. PHOTO | DENISE NAMALE | URU

What you need to know:

  • The baby. The Rugby Cranes were due to jet out of the country in the wee hours of this morning for Marseille, France, to push for the 2023 Rugby World Cup qualification through the Rugby Africa Cup. The side of 28 had seven uncapped players includes the youngest, James Mugisha, 24, who is brimming with confidence.

The Rugby Cranes were due to jet out of the country in the wee hours of the morning for Marseille, France, where they will push for the 2023 World Cup ticket through the Rugby Africa Cup.

The side of 28 had seven uncapped players – Alema Ruhweza,  Akera Komaketch, Alhaji Manano ,Thomas Gwokto, James Mugisha, Timothy Odongo and Joseph Oyet. 

Of the rookies, James Mugisha is  a “stranger” but the 24-year-old centre – the youngest on the team – convinced the coaches he had to be on that plane to France. 

“I felt good about the training sessions and did all I was asked to. I was comfortable and really fit in well, It was not a big surprise when I made the team,” Mugisha told Daily Monitor.

The Rugby Cranes start with a quarter final clash against Kenya on Friday.

Looking the part

At the team’s flag off at the National Council of Sports, Lugogo, Mugisha looked like he had been part of the set up for ages. He is full of life and one assured to be part of the side for a long time. 

He also credits his Cranes growth to backs coach Bobby Musinguzi and Cranes captain Ivan Magomu – who is also his captain at Stanbic Black Pirates. 

“ Seeing them around everyday helped a lot getting used to the team because I work with them at Pirates,” he added.

As the ‘baby’ of the side, Mugisha admits feeling the pressure but he’s also glad to be surrounded with a special group of people. 

A team session on how to flash out negativity especially from session media has helped a lot on top of being around senior players who have seen it all before. 

“Scott Olouch and Lawrence Sebuliba have been the most helpful players. Every time I made a mistake in training they came and told me it was fine and encouraged me to clean up,” he says. 

“They are also so experienced and have been telling how to remain composed even under pressure.”

Mugisha’s rugby journey started at Namilyango College before joining Makerere College for his A level. 

It was during his time at Uganda Christian University that former Pirates coach Anthony Kinene spotted him and fast-tracked him into the Pirates setup in 2017 via Sailors.

Mugisha is now focused on earning his stripes. 

“I will wait for my opportunity and make the most of it when it comes. I’m confident I can help the side when called upon,” he says.

Quarterfinals

July 1 | Namibia vs Burkina Faso

July 1 | Zimbabwe vs Côte d’Ivoire

July 2 | Senegal vs Algeria

July 2 | Uganda vs Kenya

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