The 2019-20 Nile Special Stout Rugby Premier League was cancelled by the Uganda Rugby Union on Wednesday, October 7, 2020. Among other announcements made by URU, awards and prize money are to be received by individuals for their top performance during the season.
These, as listed by URU President Godwin Arinaitwe, were MVP, Golden Boot, Top Try Scorer, Coach of the season, Referee of the season, and the Fair Play Award. URU’s Technical Committee and the League Management Committee are responsible for selecting the winners of these awards.
For some, the recipients are already known – by reading from the season statistics. Heathens’ Lawrence Sebuliba and Kobs’ Daudi Semwami are joint top try scorers having scored nine tries.
In this article, the rugby team at Kawowo Sports, led by Akorebirungi Ernest and Franklin Kaweru, discuss their picks for the different individual honours from the 2019-20 Nile Special Stout Rugby Premier League.
Referee of the season
- Kaweru: Ronald Wutimber. Knowledge of the rules of the game, decision-making accuracy, communication, game reading, understanding, and management are some of the key attributes of a good referee. And in most of the games he was in charge, Wutimber demonstrated all these attributes with consistency and gets my pick for Referee of The Season.
- Akorebirungi: Ronald Wutimber. This season, Wutimber is the man at the center who has showcased the most accurate and consistent interpretation of the ever-changing laws of the game. Also, a good referee is one who communicates well to the players throughout the game. From watching the games he managed this season – big or small – it is easy to see why Wutimber leads the ladies and gentlemen with the whistle.
Coach of the season
- Kaweru: Obviously, there’s no such thing as a perfect coach in sport but if one had the necessary requirements as strategy and smart tactical brain, great man-management skills coupled with great selectorial instinct their team would definitely flourish, regardless of the playing personnel. And for me, given how Jinja Hippos played during the season with everything else including but not limited to playing personnel, their coach Robert Seguya deserves a Coach of the Season Award.
- Akorebirungi: I agree with Kaweru on this one. Seguya has earned the merit of being awarded coach of the season.
Fair Play Award (to a team)
- Kaweru: Off the head, I thought it was Mongers’ award to win but on reflection, they are undeserving of a Fair Play Award after not agreeing to reschedule their match with Makerere Impis much as they were one of the most disciplined on the pitch. For that reason, I will choose Jinja Hippos who, in my opinion, played not just exciting but clean rugby as well regardless of the opponent.
- Akorebirungi: This has got to be Jinja Hippos. Surely. On paper, their players have been sent to the bin 3 times this season, which is tied with 2 others as the least for all teams. And when you watch their games, Jinja Hippos deserve this award even more. They have played the cleanest rugby and maintained their cool at the most intense of competitiveness during the games. Mongers would have been the perfect recipient for this award, but for that situation with Impis at the beginning of the year.
- Richard Kinyai (Warriors). For the golden boot, we are keeping it simple and going for the best kicker this season. And that has been none other than Kinyai. The Warriors center has kicked a total of 79 points from 22 penalties, 5 conversions, and a drop goal. Some of these kicks have come from sharp angles and long distances which has put Kinyai head and shoulders above the rest off the boot.
Most Valuable Player
- Kaweru: Alex Aturinda (Black Pirates). I have said on numerous occasions that how Aturinda played throughout the season defines a number eight and wrote an opinion piece on why I believe he deserves the MVP Award. He was the most important player at Pirates and most consistent in the league, delivering in every game. Aturinda carried and tackled well, provided stability at the base of the scrum, and was the Sea Robbers top try scorer with 6, just three shy of league top scorers who are wingers.
- Akorebirungi: Joseph Oyet (Heathens). Without a shred of doubt, Oyet has been the best player of the best team this season. The numbers don’t lie. Oyet scored eight tries for Heathens – one short of the league’s top scorers – and when the champions lost their flyhalf to the national sevens team, he took over kicking duties and converted 3 penalties and 14 conversions. It could be the bare minimum expected from a full back, but I cannot recall seeing Oyet drop a single ball. His territorial awareness, excellent decision making in attack and defence have been instrumental in the making of an MVP-worthy season.