Credit: Kyadondo Rugby Club

Jinja Hippos Rugby Club has unveiled Charles Onen as their new head coach on an initial one-year contract.

Onen assumes the role in the place of Robert Seguya whose health pulled him away from the touchline.

Soggy, as he is popularly known, had inspired Hippos from the bottom of the table to fourth place within four years but a bigger battle for his life against leukemia erupted at the end of last season.

This left Hippos in dire need of a replacement coach as soon as possible before the 2021-22 season kicks off.

The club has not got one but two replacement coaches for the upcoming season. In addition to Onen who will be in charge of the senior XV and Sevens squads, Kevin Makmot has been appointed as backs coach. Makmot will also be responsible for Hippos’ development club, Kiira Crocs. Sean Baldwin maintains his role as forwards coach.

Kevin Makmot talks to Rhinos players during half time

Jinja Hippos chairman Jonan Manzi has said that they are excited to welcome the two coaches as the club builds on the progress made under Seguya.

“Everyone at the club is very excited to welcome these two young coaches as we look to build on the incredible progress of the team under previous head coach Robert Seguya, who took Hippos from bottom of the league at Christmas 2018 to a fourth-place finish last season.

“While Soggy’s illness has necessitated the change, we are confident that in these two we have identified the best coaches to take us on the next stage of our journey,” Manzi said.

He also appreciated Seguya’s commitment and passion for working with Jinja Hippos.

“I’d also like to personally thank Soggie for his commitment and passion in developing our young squad. Soggie, please be aware that everyone involved at Jinja Hippos is wishing you well on your road to recovery and that you’re always assured of a warm welcome at Dam Waters,” Manzi added.

The pair – Onen and Makmot – have already begun work with the team, and were at the touchline together managing Crocs during the Eastern region return-to-play tournament. They have set their eyes on the XV league, instead of the pending national Sevens series.

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

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