Uganda’s rugby team secured places in the Olympic Games Repechage and the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series after defeating Zimbabwe 24-12 in the Bronze Medal match at the Rugby Africa Men’s 7s 2023 tournament.
Uganda had faced a tough start, losing in the pool match on the first day of the competition. However, on the second day, they made a remarkable comeback, overcoming Zimbabwe with a score of 24-12 to claim the third-place finish. The tries were scored by Aaron Ofoyrwoth, Isaac Massanganzira, and Philip Wokorach (2). Captain Ian Munyani converted Wokorach’s try in the final moments, leading to exuberant celebrations.
Uganda will now join Kenya, the eventual African champions who qualified by reaching the Cup Final, in the 7s Challenger Series scheduled for 2024. Additionally, pending approval from the South African Olympics Committee, Uganda will participate in the Olympic Games Repechage next year.
Coach Tolbert Onyango expressed his joy at the outcome, emphasizing its importance in keeping the Olympic dream alive and ensuring that the extended squad remains active throughout the year.
He stated, “For us, it is important that we now have qualified for the Challenger Series. I think there are going to be four or five legs of the same which is very important for us as a country. If we had missed out on that, that means our year is dead and the folks at home who are playing in the 7s series do not have anything to play for.”
Following their success, the Uganda Men’s 7s national team will return home and join the rest of the country in the off-season break.
In the Rugby Africa Men’s 7s 2023 tournament, Uganda played a total of six matches, winning four, drawing none, and losing three. In the pool matches on the first day, they defeated Algeria 45-07 and Burkina Faso 36-19 but lost to Zimbabwe with a score of 35-05. In the knockout matches on the second day, Uganda triumphed over Zambia 29-15 but faced defeat against South Africa, who won 26-14. The tournament concluded with Uganda’s victory against Zimbabwe in the Bronze Medal match.