Haruna Mohammed Credit: Don Mugabi

The 2022-23 Uganda Rugby season concluded on Sunday evening with the Kyabazinga 7s in Bugembe. Black Pirates won the Nile Special 7s Series to clinch a season double in the men’s competition.

Some good rugby was played by some talented men over the seven circuits. These are the best of the best I have chosen for my dream team:

  1. Sydney Gongodyo (Black Pirates)

Black Pirates did not sweep the floor with their toughest of opponents during this 7s series. They battled and fought hard for each and every point they earned to win it. Top on the list of their enforcers: Sydney Gongodyo.

  1. Haruna Mohammed (Black Pirates)

Haruna Mohammed played like he had not just spent close to a year recovering from a knee injury. Not much of a team player because he likes to have his hands on the ball at all times but Mohammed’s relentless pursuit of victory kept Pirates firing from all cylinders.

  1. Arnold Ocen (Rhinos)

It is hard to tell the Rhinos twins – Arnold Ocen and Arthur Opio – apart. But when they were momentarily separated, Ocen stood out as Rhinos’ power forward. Big carry after big carry, broken tackle after broken tackle. Ocen became the go-to man when James Musiitwa’s boys needed some go-forward.

Arnold Ocen. With Pool Kalungi in the far background
  1. Pool Kalungi (Rhinos)

Stephen Alul provided that much-needed stability for Black Pirates. Ivan Bulima bagged the top try scorer’s award. Joseph Aredo has been so good for so long that it is now normal business. But this season, it is hard to look past Rhinos’ Pool Kalungi.

When Kalungi played, I found myself on my feet because he was simply exciting to watch. Rhinos shifted to a higher gear with the little dynamite on the pitch.

  1. Liam Walker (Buffaloes)

Liam Walker was the mastermind of Buffaloes’ set plays in such a majestic fashion. The cross-kicks and the switch plays, especially, were innovations on attack which certainly always caught my eye.

  1. Timothy Kisiga (Black Pirates)

Uganda’s misfortune in missing Kisiga due to work commitments was Pirates’ blessing. Kisiga brought a certain x-factor to the Sea Robbers’ lineup that only he possesses. And sometimes, most times, that’s what they needed to wring wins out of tight matches.

Lawrence Ssebuliba
  1. Lawrence Ssebuliba (Heathens)

Lawrence Ssebuliba has aged like fine wine. Before youngster Malcolm Okello decided to take matters into his own hands, it seemed like all Heathens had to do was pass to Ssebuliba and let him cook. A well-deserved winner of the overall series men’s MVP.

As was with the women’s dream team, my coach of the series is none other than championship-winner Marvin Odongo. Five out of seven finals, three Cup victories was the finest performance by any team.

Check out the women’s dream team

Ernest Akorebirungi joined Kawowo Sports in July 2019 after one year as a student volunteer at the Makerere University Games Union. In his role as rugby correspondent, he offers unique insight and analysis...

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