Black Pirates Rugby Club chairperson Daniel Canowira Credit: Black Pirates Rugby Club/TW

Founded in 1996 by a group of rugby-playing friends at the end of their university days, Black Pirates Rugby Club has grown to become one of the top rugby clubs in the country, becoming one of only four to win the Uganda Rugby Premier League title.

The club now has both a men’s team – Black Pirates, a women’s team – Black Pearls, and a youth development side – Sailors that plays in the championship.

This year, Black Pirates Rugby Club marks 25 years since its inception. Today, at their home ground, Kings Park Stadium in Bweyogerere, the roadmap that will guide the celebrations was launched by the club executive committee.

Club chairperson, Daniel Canowira, has revealed that the celebrations will begin with the national sevens series next month in September with various activities during the series. The biggest activities, which include exhibition matches, CSR activities, and a grand dinner, have been planned for November.

Today we have launched the roadmap and the logo for the 25-year celebrations of the existence of Black Pirates Rugby Club. We will have our first physical activity on the first weekend of September that will run for about six weeks. When we get to November, we intend to have three weekends of activity, the first will be the weekend of 6th November where we will have the veterans’ (exhibition) games. On the weekend of 13th November, we intend to have a CSR activity in the morning, and in the evening, we will invite different clubs and players to play with us. The final event will be on the 21st of November where we will have a gala dinner.

Daniel Canowira, Club Chairman

The COVID-19 lockdown and restrictions on sport have not halted the club’s plans for this historic milestone. Canowira noted that they intend to wait for the green light when rugby resumes for the Sevens Series and be in a celebratory mood from start to finish.

Brief history of the club

Black Pirates Rugby Club was founded in 1996 by a core group of rugby-playing friends who had just finished their university education at Makerere University. This core group included Edmond Malilo Owor, Patrick Umatete, Stephen Paul Ojambo, Innocent Kyakuha, Peter Genza, and Edward Thadeus Ssozi.

Owor recalls that having played for Makerere’s Impis RFC, the young and rebellious gentlemen decided to form their own club because of the bad blood they had between themselves and the other clubs.

Black Pirates’ first win came against Nile RFC and its first major title during the Jinja 10s bowl final towards the end of the 20th century. Its most successful season however came more than fifteen years later in the 2017/18 season where they made a clean sweep of the Uganda Cup, the top-flight league, and the national sevens series. That same year, championship side Sailors won the Central Region championship.

Black Pirates players lift their coach Robert ‘Bobby’ Musinguzi after league triumph Credit: Denise Bwaha

Over the past decade under coaches Sam Ahamya, Anthony Kinene, and Robert Musinguzi, Pirates have steadily built a competitive fifteens side and an even stronger sevens team.

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

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