When the rollercoaster that was 2019-20 Nile Special Stout Rugby Premier League was halted by a global COVID-19 pandemic and a local lockdown in March 2020, it took nearly six months for Uganda Rugby Union to decide its fate and that of the coming season.
Heathens were declared champions for a record fifteenth time and 23 January 2021 was earmarked as the return date for the 2021 season among other decisions that were taken.
That was understandable back then, given that the situation wasn’t clear enough not just locally but globally. Only New Zealand and Australia – whose management of the virus has been everyone’s envy – had returned to action with the Super Rugby franchise tournament.
However, competitive rugby would not officially resume in Uganda until forty-two days later – eight short of a full year since the last match was played – on 6 March 2021 with a single-leg round-robin format men’s league that was for the most part successfully and safely executed.
Fast-forward to September 2021, most of the world, apart from Uganda which is still under partial lockdown, has since moved on to life after and with COVID.
URU had internally revealed to the clubs that the national Sevens Series would kick off this Saturday, 18th September 2021 but had not named the host venue or series sponsor.
Word has it that it is largely boardroom challenges that have delayed the start of the 2021 National Sevens Series. With lingering uncertainty over whether fans will be allowed to attend the matches, clubs have been hesitant to bid for hosting rights of the unconfirmed number of circuits. Also, discussions with brands for sponsorship are still ongoing as the clock agonizingly ticks away.
This has left URU between a rock and a hard place. Holding the series with insufficient funding or, as was done with the league at the beginning of the year, postpone to a later date.
Knowing the Lugogo-based secretariat’s plan of realigning the calendar by having Sevens and then jumping straight to the league in October-November, KOBs may need to wait before counting their second full year since the 2019 series as national Sevens champions.
It is without a doubt that the 2021 national sevens series will be played this year. But when?