Emma Ssedyabane

Newly promoted Impis Rugby Club have had a tough start to their campaign in the 2019/20 Nile Special Stout Uganda Rugby Premier League.

From a 17-10 loss to 9 Barrels Warriors in the opening match at Kings Park, Bweyogerere followed by a 14-05 defeat at the hands of Rimula Rhinos at Legends Rugby Grounds, the Makerere-based club are yet to earn their first win of the season.

The losses have come at an extra cost to Impis who have had to deal with injury scares early in the season. Tight forward Edward Eriyaku suffered a painful hit in the ribs while Henry Nsekuye got a concussion, and the two starting players now on the sidelines as they recover.

Vice-captain Spencer believes the largely youthful side is still to get a strong grip on top-flight rugby with majority of the players playing their debut season in the league. However, he says the only way is up for his team.

We have senior players on the team that have been guiding the young boys, and soon we shall be back winning ways

Spencer Muhiire, Vice-captain Makerere Impis

Aside from the injuries, Impis are missing the services of explosive wing Luhoni Jonathan who took a break after the Uganda Cup due to personal reasons. Impis were also without coach Emmanuel Katuntu on Saturday at Legends, as he was engaged elsewhere on the day.

Keith Weraga speeds away from a tackle

Despite the low start to the 2019-20 season, going by the statistics, Makerere Impis are currently riding high on performance. The team went a full season unbeaten in the central league championship and put up a biblical David show in the sevens series nearly upsetting the top brass. Since January 2019, Makerere Impis have only lost 3 competitive matches in the 15s variation of the game.

The youngest team in the league seems to have learnt a lot from the season they spent out of top-flight rugby. From the playing staff to the boardroom, and all the departments at the club, it is clear that Impis are an organized and motivated outfit yearning to spend longer in the premier league and fight to get their hands on some silverware.

Makerere Impis will play their first home game against defending champions Hima Cement Heathens. This will also be the last match of the year 2019 and the 2010’s decade, as the league takes a break until January 2020.

Heathens have always dominated this tie comfortably with a bonus point, but on Impis’ part, this is a fixture that brings out the true character of the university side. And hopefully, they will give their loyal and proud fans an encouraging Christmas message at home.

Ernest Akorebirungi is an amateur rugby player and a keen follower of local Ugandan rugby.

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