Uganada set for 7s bow
November 26, 2003

While all eyes will be on the likes of New Zealand, England and South Africa at the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby 7s from December 3-5, the arrival of one new team to the tournament is a heart-warming story of achievement in itself.

Uganda have filled the breach left by the withdrawal of world cup weary Namibia and the announcement is the end of 30 years of hard work in the face of adversity for a country that has lived in political turmoil under the crazed and brutal dictator Iddi Amin, which virtually killed off the game of rugby in the central African country.

But a new era of rugby is rising from the ashes and a structured schools development programme and elite programme for players with potential has resulted in Uganda now fielding a national side of some promise that hopes to emulate its neighbours Kenya by becoming firm crowd favourites in Dubai.

Former national winger Yayiro Kasasa is currently coach of the 7s team and knows what Uganda needs to achieve in order to climb to the next level.

"Like many things in Uganda, rugby is facing a kind of renaissance. From mainly playing weekend rugby just for fun, we now have more than six teams in the league. The sport can only go from there," he said.

Participation at the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby 7s can only help, and the current Kenya team is a testament to that. The Kenyans have been coming to Dubai for the past six years and this year their hopes are high.
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"Our aim is to reach the quarter finals this year," said a confident Kenyan coach Bill Githinji. "It is going to be tough in Dubai but we are travelling with the best team available."

Africa will be well represented in Dubai with South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Morocco also travelling to the Gulf. They will all travel on to the second leg of the IRB Sevens world series to be held in South Africa the following week. Zimbabwe will have a famous family name in their line-up. Daniel Hondo is the brother of Zimbabwe Test cricketer Douglas Hondo.

But Uganda's Dubai debut couldn't be tougher. They face four-time reigning champions New Zealand and dark horses Argentina in Group B. They will also come up against local heroes Arabian Gulf. Kenya, meanwhile, have the task of playing South Africa and Australia as well as minnows Zambia in Group D.

Tickets for the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby 7s are available through the ticketline on 800-4814 or They are also in stock at MMI Outlets, the Exiles Club, Long's, Boston, the Dubai Airline Centre on Sheikh Zayed Road and the Sharjah Wanderers Club.

Group A: England, France, Morocco, Sri Lanka
Group B: New Zealand, Argentina, Uganda, Arabian Gulf
Group C: Fiji, Samoa, Canada, Zimbabwe
Group D: South Africa. Australia, Kenya, Zambia

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