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Elgon Cup gone?

Elgon Cup gone?
Kenya’s Maurice Mbai and Nick Barasa tackle Uganda’s Scott Oluoch (centre) during the 2012 Elgon cup action at Kyadondo. There are fears that the tournament might be scrapped off this year : By Johnson Were

The future of the Elgon Cup is no more after Uganda and Kenya released their 2013/14 calendars with  contradicting fixtures of the tournament.

According to the fixtures released by the Uganda Rugby Union (URU) the tournament  is scheduled for June21 and 28, 2014 but Kenya has two calendars with one released in October 7 having the tournament on May 31 and June 7, 2014.

However, the latest fixture Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) released has no Elgon Cup which is a clear indication that the current Africa champions has no interest in the tournament that started in 2004 since Uganda doesn’t add any value to them.

Uganda has won the annual tournament only twice (2006 and 2012) with Kenya taking the remaining years. There is contradicting information from both Union officials:

According to URU secretary Michael Wandera, they noticed that Kenya doesn’t have Elgon Cup on the calendar and are yet to write to KRU to discuss the matter and see how possible the tournament can stay in existence.

“Yes we noticed that on their calendar and we are yet to write to them and agree on the dates,” Wandera stated. According to KRU media officer Michael Mwanja, the calendar without Elgon cup was a draft calendar and they will come up with a final calendar which has the tournament.

“You are looking at draft fixtures and making conclusions….. We will send you the final fixtures soon,” Mwanja stated in an email to this paper. However when contacted the KRU CEO Jack Okoth, denied the tournament not being on a calendar. “Why would there be no the Elgon Cup? I am meeting the Uganda rugby Union this Friday to plan for Elgon cup as well as the super series,” Okoth wrote.

“To the best of my knowledge, there is no board resolution to remove Elgon cup from the fixtures. I know we had problems synchronizing the dates last year and that is why we are starting early,” Okoth adds. “The tri-nations we are playing this year and is sponsored by the IRB has nothing to do with anything, just preparations for the world cup qualifiers,” he concluded.

Chairman tells off

The last blow was from the KRU boss Mwangi Muthee, who said,” I’m in South Africa we want to play in the Vodacom tournament and once Argentina doesn’t confirm we will be taken up and that means we will not play the Elgon Cup.”

This alone sends signals that the Elgon cup is no more and the Kenyan officials are just playing a diplomatic game.

International events:
May 3-31, 2014: Bamburi Super Series
June 21-28, 2014: Elgon Cup/Tri Nations Victoria Cup ???????
June CAR 1A and 1B.
October: East Africa Club Super Cup.

Local competition:
November, 2013-Febuary, 2014: Premiership and championship League and Regional competitions.
Febuary-March, 2014: National Super series.
May3-31, 2014: U-20 Junior cup
October-November, 2014: University League
August and December: Resting period.
January: Club 7s

NATIONAL rugby team coach Peter Magona believes the revised 2013/2014 rugby calendar released by the Uganda Rugby Union (URU) on Monday will revive the flagging fortunes of Ugandan rugby.

Magona feels the new calendar is not only competitive enough but will help Uganda prepare better teams for international events.

“I think Uganda needed to do this a long time ago. It will help us align both the 15s and 7s rugby calendar thus giving us equal national team preparation time with countries such as Kenya that adopted the calendar way back,” Magona stated in an exclusive interview with New Vision.

Since 2007, when Uganda won the CAR Cup after beating Madagascar 42-21 in the final, Ugandan rugby has been in steady decline.

Among the reasons cited was a lack of a well-planned calendar and programme that suits international competitions.

The programes in the calendar were not sufficient enough to nurture talent. The national teams have also previously had very little time to prepare.

In the new calendar, the league and club 7s tournaments will end earlier. There will also be enough competitions to help coaches’ spot players for various events.

The national 7s tournament has been shifted to January to provide sufficient time to prepare the national team for international 7s.

Magona however cautioned that: “We will have to suffer first because the players and clubs need to get familiar with the new system.”


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