Ainomugisha Juliet

For the past two Sundays, eight girls’ and women’s teams have provided some entertaining and thrilling rugby for the Central Region in the Women’s 10s championship.

This tournament has been both a revelation of fresh upcoming talented girls and a continuation of the skills galore from the experienced women.

I have covered the two rounds at Entebbe Works Grounds and Kings Park Stadium, and in this article, I name the players you will need to watch out for in the final round this Sunday.

Tier 2: This is the category that was specifically created in the Central region to provide a platform for the age-grade and newly introduced players to get competitive game time, and also for the newly formed teams to showcase their potential for the future.

Isabella Abbo
  • Isabella Abbo (Blue Whales): With an MVP award in the first round and top scorer award in the second under her belt, Abbo has been the best player of the championship by far. She has been the goto finisher for the Blue Whales, often splitting defenses with pace from deep inside her territory.
Patience Malongo
  • Patience Malongo (Lady Swans): Malongo’s deceptive pace at the wing has been tricky for defenses to keep away from the try line. Coupling that with her tackle-breaking strength and offloads, she has been both a finisher and playmaker for the Lady Swans.
Mary Nakato
  • Mary Nakato (Black Diamonds): Having just learnt the game, Nakato has been an exciting revelation in this championship. Her power weapon is the cross-covering tackle after running across the pitch from one touchline to the other has been thrilling to watch.
Angayika Comfort
  • Angayika Comfort (Ewes): Ewes have been the team that you won’t notice on pitch when they are playing. However, Angayika has been the Ewes player that has got spectators asking themselves if they saw what she just did. Strong ball carrier with hard hits, and a great leader for the team as well.
AQRA
  • Acholi Quarters Rugby Academy (AQRA): AQRA have only featured in one round during this championship due to financial constraints. The girls played their first ever contact rugby matches since the academy was started. While they generally struggled to adjust to the laws of the game, they exhibited an understanding of the basics which sold the promise of a bright future.

Tier 1: The Tier 1 category comprises the top three clubs in the country – Black Pearls, Avengers and Thunderbirds. The trio boast of a wealth of skill and national team experience which makes their matches competitive and physically charged with players trying to prove a point to themselves.

Grace Auma
  • Grace Auma (Black Pearls): Auma is not the kind of player you will see at the end of a successful team try. Rather, she is the architect of the moves and plays that have set Black Pearls apart from the rest. Additionally, her personality on the pitch is inspirational and has the making of a great leader.
Peace Lekuru Credit: LILLIAN NAKITENDE
  • Peace Lekuru (Avengers): Peace Lekuru has not just continued where she left off in the last tournament pre-COVID, she has stepped up the quality of rugby she plays. Her ball handling, carries and passes have put her at the core of Avengers’ progress in the championship.
Yvonne Najjuma
  • Yvonne Najjuma (Thunderbirds): In a championship where Thunderbirds have been a shadow of their former selves, Najjuma has fiercely led the team from the front. Her trademark style of physical rugby has been a force to reckon with. She has expressed herself full with tenacity not only on defense, but also on attack where it was tough to wrestle her down.

The final round of the Central Region Women’s 10s championship will be played at the House of Pain, the home of the Plascon Mongers in Entebbe, Busambaga on Sunday, 2 May 2021.

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

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