Ugandan rugby’s long-term aficionados will tell their fresh and young counterparts that they missed Joseph Aredo’s best playing days. Back in the early 2010s when he was still a skinny lad with a rough afro on his head. But the new fans in this Twitter age will argue that Aredo, who turned 29 three weeks ago, is even yet to hit his prime.
However, both groups of fans will agree about one thing. Aredo still possesses and exhibits the qualities that make him one of the best rugby players of his generation.
And in the eyes of the technical team that selected the outstanding players in this year’s Guinness Sevens Series, the Kobs skipper was the most worthy to receive the overall MVP accolade and UGX 500,000 cash prize from hydration partner Century Bottling Limited. He beat stiff challenges from the Black Pirates pair of Timothy Kisiga and Conrad Wanyama to the award.
But what are some of the qualities that Joseph Aredo exhibited during the series to win this award? I pick out two that stood out for me, observed over the six circuits played across the country.
1. Clutch Points
When Kobs needed one of their players to deliver in the tensest moments of the game, Aredo did not skip a beat. You will recall, from the first circuit, that near-impossible conversion kick to send Kobs into the Mileke Sevens main cup final against Heathens with the score tied at 19-all. In the final circuit, he took matters into his own hands to score Kobs’ only points as they fought back in vain during the Coronation Sevens main cup final. Time and time again over the series, Aredo pulled the hat out of the bag for his club.
2. Kick Restart Accuracy
Kobs’ key strength in the series was the ability to turn over possession immediately after the restart using Aredo as the kicker and Ian Munyani as the chaser. The pin-point accuracy to deliver those kick restarts for every game during every circuit was not matched by any of the other kickers, not even his own teammates at both club and country level.
There is a lot more than this that goes into being the Most Valuable Player of the Series than just putting points on the board. But if one were to look at the individual statistics, Aredo was the series overall top points scorer with 206 points from 12 tries and a whooping 73 conversions.
All said and done, Aredo’s brilliant performance inspired Kobs to their fifth series title in six years, and a clinical season double in the post-COVID era.