Eliphaz Emong embraces teammate Credit: Edgar Hamala

Uganda Rugby Cranes forward Eliphaz Emong and Uganda U20 halfback Alvin Mwebaze have crossed borders to Kenya for their rugby careers.

Emong returns to Kabras, current Kenya Cup champions, after four years away while Mwebaze begins his stint away from home at Kenya Harlequin.

The news was published in Kenya Rugby Union’s 2022-23 mid-season transfers on Wednesday afternoon.

Emong’s first stint at Kabras was in 2017 on the back of his first tour with the Rugby Cranes in Kakamega. He had been spotted by then-head coach Robert Seguya (RIP) at Makerere Rams just fresh from high school.

“I first crossed borders with the national team side for a friendly match against Kabras Rugby. It was after the game that Kabras approached me, and being a big club, I had no second thoughts about joining them. That’s how I ended up in Kenya,” Emong said in an interview with Scrummage Kenya three years ago.

He then went deeper into Kenya with a move to Homeboyz in Nairobi in 2019 before returning home in 2021 to join the Jinja Hippos.

With Emong, Jinja Hippos achieved their highest finish in the Ugandan premier league (fourth place behind Heathens, Kobs, and Pirates) for two successive seasons.

Emong’s last appearance for Hippos was a 34-11 loss to Kobs in the 2022 Uganda Cup Men’s Quarterfinal in which was the captain.

Alvin Mwebaze (far right) in action for Uganda U20 at the Rugby Africa U20 Barthes Trophy 2022 in Nairobi, Kenya. Credit: Uganda Rugby Union/TW

Similarly, Mwebaze started his career at Rams as a teenager before he switched to Buffaloes Rugby ahead of the 2019-20 season. He earned his first caps under Richard Lumu – his coach at Rams – during the 2022 Rugby Africa U20 Barthes Trophy in Nairobi, Kenya.

Mwebaze crosses the border to Harlequin, a favourite destination for Ugandans to ply their trade in Kenya. Other Ugandans who have played for Kenya Harlequin include Aaron Ofoyrwoth, Joseph Aredo, Scott Olwoch, and Daudi Semwami.

He will certainly find a soft landing under Rugby Cranes back-row Rolleston Mongo’s wing at the Ngong Road-based club.

Emong and Mwebaze could make their first appearances for Kabras and Harlequin respectively this weekend as the Kenya Cup resumes in Matchday Five.

Ernest Akorebirungi is Uganda's top rugby writer and commentator with experience in local tournaments like the national XVs competitions and sevens series. He has also reported at international tournaments...

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