Jinja Hippos new signings with captain Maxwell Ebonga

Jinja Hippos have officially unveiled their squad for the 2021 return-to-rugby season. The squad includes three fresh signings and six promotions from the development side, Kiira Crocs.

Credit: Jinja Hippos

The three signings are James Okello from Rhinos, Eliphaz Emong from Homeboyz and David Kelly Akengo from Kabras. Homeboys and Kabras are top tier clubs in the Kenya Cup.

The key signing is Emong who joins his national team coach Seguya at the club on a shocking return from Kenya. Speaking to Kratos Rugby, Eliphaz Emong said he needed to continue with the sport in this post-COVID period and given his commitments in Jinja City, Hippos was the best option for him.

“I had to come back, for various reasons but mainly having commitments this side in Jinja. So I felt like to continue with the sport amidst the COVID, I can come through this side,” Emong said.

Promoted from the Crocs are Makita Ndembele, Hakim Wasige, Meddy Bagalana, Ayman Bagalana, Yasin Waswa and Edrine Lemeriga. Meddy and Ayman join elder brother Tawfik to complete the Bagalana brotherhood trio at the club.

Important to note is that Jinja Hippos have been able to retain all their players from the 2019/20 season which is rather surprising for a team that had impressive performers. But the club chairperson Manzi Jonan says that this shows the players’ belief in the club’s development program.

Head coach Robert Seguya has said that his squad is better prepared for the season than their competitors and that these additions to the playing roster bring experience and leadership to the team.

We were proactive and got prepared. We had our plans and structures in place, I’m sure we are on the same level (with other teams) but we are better prepared. Hippos being a team made up of new and upcoming players, these players we are getting bring experience and leadership to them.

Robert Seguya, Jinja Hippos head coach

Hippos kick off their season on March 6, 2021, with an away match against Warriors at Legends Rugby Grounds in Kampala.

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

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