Platinum Credit Heathens have, in the past few years, been one of the most dominant teams in the Ugandan National Rugby League.
As it stands, The Platinum Credit Heathens are the team in the league with the most trophies, and players from their squad always get to feature for the national team in different competitions the country has been in.
The Heathens became the sixteen-time Record champions in 2022 after dominating the league and ending Unbeaten for the fourth time in history under the coachship of Muhammad Athio.
During this season, they saw off other big clubs like Kobs, Black Pirates, and Jinja Hippos, all of whom were beaten, snatching the Uganda Cup victory away from Kobs and having an incredible season.
However, coming into 2023, the Heathen that everyone could have expected to dominate again didn’t seem to be like that.
They started off the season picking up at the Kings Part Arena as the Black Pirates, the champions, sent shock waves.
The game ended 24-18 to the Pirates with tries from Joshua Engwau, Timothy Kisiga, Alex Aturinda, and Moses Olweny. Heathens tries were made by Michael Wokorach and Nobert Okeny, while penalty kicks were made by Chris Lubanga.
The Heathens, however, picked up a moment in some games, beating Kobs home and away, only losing Two crucial games, and winning 16 out of the 18 games played in a season.
But then also, Impis denying Heathens Bonus Points at the graveyard in the second round of the league sent signals compared to the way it would have been anticipated in that the quality of Rugby played was impressive as the Host gave the visitors a good run that capitalized in a 24-14 loss.
So many questions have been asked, and many think that coming into the next season, the dominance of the Heathens may be no more.
Many of the teams are now building up their squad to match that of the then unstoppable Heathens, just looking at The champions Black Pirates who came into last season’s with determination to win from the word go beating Kobs in the finals.
The addition of a fresh cohort of young lads to the existing team from the 2017-18 season, along with Marvin Odongo as their coach, has certainly boosted their chances of making a legitimate claim for the title.
Having a mix of experienced players from the previous season and talented newcomers can create a dynamic and competitive team. The young lads bring enthusiasm, energy, and perhaps some new skills and perspectives to the squad. They can inject a sense of vitality and hunger to succeed, while the players from the 2017–18 class provide valuable experience and knowledge of the game.
The role of Marvin Odongo as coach and former captain is crucial. His experience as a player and understanding of team dynamics can greatly contribute to their success. As a coach, he can provide guidance, strategy, and mentorship to both the new players and the existing ones. His leadership skills can inspire and motivate the team to perform at their best, setting them on a path to challenge for the title.
However, it’s important to note that success in sports is never guaranteed, as it depends on various factors such as the skills and performance of the players, team chemistry, competition, and other external variables. While the combination of the young lads and the class of 2017-18, along with Marvin Odongo’s coaching, presents a promising opportunity, they will still need to work hard, remain dedicated, and perform consistently to make a legitimate claim for the title.
Black Pirates aside, Rugby is a growing sport in Uganda, and the Jinja Hippos play a significant role in promoting the sport in their region. They are known for their competitive spirit and have gained popularity among rugby enthusiasts in Uganda. They were the champions of the 2022 National Rugby 7s in Uganda, and coming into the 15s, they ended up in the 4th position after having not had the best of their season due to injuries and some of their players being called up for national duties. However, this does not change the fact that they are now among the teams that are also capable of being champions, as they are also building their squad depth for a better season with up-and-coming stars like Tawfik Bagalana.
This season, Tawfik Bagalana participated in all 18 games and scored twelve tries—the most by a Jinja Hippos player.
He also took up the role of captain in the club as some of their players had been away for national duties and executed the leadership role sow well.
Kobs are also one to always watch as they can also become dominate in the league. With twenty-two tries, Pius Ogena came very close to breaking a record that was previously held by Allan Musoke in 2009 and equaling to Justin Kimono in 2014.
Kobs has also added a wave of young players that are potential and great assets to the club’s future, and we are talking Calvin Gizamba, Karim Arinaitwe, and many others who are potential call-ups for the national team.
Heathens luck during the 2023 season also ran out due to some factors that seemed unstoppable, The Heathens were without motivating leadership on the field when Aaron Ofoyrwoth and Michael Wokorach went for national sevens duty. Then, contrary to normal practice, they dropped points to the Rams, Buffaloes, and Hippos.
Coming into the new season of the Nile Special Rugby 2023, we will see A new wave of competition, or we can still count on the heathens to get back on their feet much better, and many will want to prove their best with the promotion of the new kid on the block, the Kitante Eagles, who dominated the entire central league, and they will show resilience to put up a good show as they come into the Nile Special Premier League next season.
The new season of the 2023 Nile Special Rugby 7s tips off on the 1st and 2nd of July as the 2022 Champions Jinja Hippos host at Dan Waters, and we can anticipate many shocks coming from various teams, including the Impis.