Jinja Hippos has confirmed the departure of captain Tawfik Bagalana to English rugby club Leicester Forest RFC for the upcoming 2023-24 season.
This was after completing the rigorous processes of checking Bagalana’s rugby experience, medical tests, and obtaining the visa.
A statement published on Thursday evening announced the exciting news of the transfer to the club’s fans.
“We have some exciting news to share from the heart of Hippos RFC. Tawfik Bagalana, a cherished member of our family, is embarking on a remarkable journey. He’s been given the green light to join Leicester Forest RFC in England for the upcoming 2023-24 season.”
Leicester Forest RFC competes in the Regional 2 North Midlands, the fourth tier of English Rugby competitions. At the end of the 2022-23 season, Leicester Forest were ranked ninth out of twelve teams.
Bagalana was one of Hippos’ longest-serving players since the club was founded in 2014. His last appearance for Hippos was during the Tooro 7s on July 29-30 at Buhinga Football Stadium in Fort Portal City. He scored a total of five tries as Hippos finished fourth in the Nile Special 7s Series 2023. Before that, he had played all eighteen matches in the Nile Special Rugby Premier League 2023.
To put it simply, Bagalana’s departure leaves big shoes to fill at the Jinja-based club.
Hippos Club General Secretary William Mwijuka revealed to Kawowo Sports that coach Saidi Atibu and his technical team are already in talks with potential replacements. Their target list includes players from clubs in Uganda and Kenya, and within the Kiira Crocs development academy.