Eliphaz Emong Credit: John Batanudde

When it rains, it pours. Another Uganda Rugby Union (URU) sanctioned event has been cancelled. This is the third tournament in less than four weeks that has either been postponed or cancelled.

First was the national sevens series, which was postponed until August, reportedly, to focus on the Rugby Cranes’ activity in the July international window. But it was clear for all in the know that the reason was finances, or lack thereof.

The Rugby Cranes’ activities in question included the Men’s Sevens’ return to the Commonwealth Games kicking off this afternoon in Birmingham, United Kingdom and the Men’s XVs Elgon Cup on return from the Rugby Africa Cup in France.

Kenya Rugby Union opted out of both legs of the Elgon Cup with a week to spare due to financial difficulties. The writing was on the wall; KRU needed a last-moment sponsorship package of up to KES 10 million (equivalent to UGX 325 million) to fly to France in time, and it was always going to be hard to make it for the Elgon Cup. Also cited was the ongoing General Election the East African nation is going to conclude in August.

So URU turned to Zimbabwe for a single-leg Victoria Cup in a final attempt to have a home game, at least. More significantly, this would be the first time the Rugby Cranes would be playing in front of their home fans since before COVID in 2019.

There was some excitement and relief in equal measure for this match. But oddly, on Wednesday night, Zimbabwe named a ‘Goshawks’ squad dominated by their U20 youngsters to face the Rugby Cranes which burst the bubble in Kampala.

And today morning, Zimbabwe Rugby Union released a press statement regretting to inform the nation, and essentially URU, that the Victoria Cup match has been shelved. Then under an hour later, URU followed suit.

At this point, URU must be wondering who is sticking more pins into their voodoo doll.

Sources close to URU revealed that URU even offered to meet Zimbabwe Rugby Union halfway in some of the costs to make the trip happen. That’s how desperate the situation was. But alas!

Both unions have released statements that highlight their hope to play the match at a most convenient date in the near future.

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

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