Rugby 7s: Coach Onyango On Uganda’s Chances At Olympics Qualifiers

Uganda Rugby Sevens Coach Tolbert Onyango has assessed the team’s chances at the forthcoming Olympic Repechage Tournament.

The Olympic Repechage tourney takes place in Monaco on 19-20 June, and will act as the final qualifier for the Olympics.

Uganda is grouped in Pool B alongside France, Hong Kong, Chile and Jamaica. Pool A has Samoa, Ireland, Tonga, Zimbabwe and Mexico.

Just one Olympic ticket is available.

The teams will play against all four opponents in their pools with the top two teams from each pool progressing through two knockout stages, culminating in a winner being decided in the final.

“A knockout tournament normally comes with its own pressures. Pressure to perform properly throughout the tournament, so there’s no room for error — you snooze, you lose,” Onyango is quoted by World Rugby.

“Out of all those teams there we might beat Chile and Jamaica, though they’ve also gotten one up on us. And, I believe we’ve made some progress ever since we last played them. 

“So, we are confident enough that if we stick to our game plan and play our structures, we should be able to get a good result at the end of the day.”

Uganda has 27 sportsmen that have already booked their place at the coming Olympics in Tokyo and Rugby Sevens team want to add their name on the list.

The team, now in camp, has had various training sessions and Tournaments including the Emirates Invitational Sevens in Dubai.

Onyango says the training sessions have been hindered by curfew times tough. “Rugby is really in the semi-professional state at the moment for us in Uganda. In the evening it’s almost impossible to get a session in after work and then people get home before curfew time.”

For a team that has featured at the 2018 Rugby World Cup sevens, Onyango says that place at Olympics will be a game changer.

“It’d be great. Getting to the Olympics will change a lot for us. I’m assuming there’ll be more funding coming through from the Olympic committee towards the sports. 

“And, there will be kids around our playing fields in Uganda looking at what the national team is doing and having some self belief that there is a pathway for me to perform at the highest level, even if I’m still based at home. 

“So, that’ll be huge for us, and also from the admin point of view, it would mean that we need to beef up our administration, our organisation around the sport of sevens so that we can be able to maintain the levels where we are, that [helped us] get to the Olympics.”

Uganda’s Group Schedule – Olympic Repechange

*June 18: Uganda Vs Jamaica
*June 19: Hongkong Vs Uganda
*June 19: France Vs Uganda
*June 20: Chile Vs Uganda

Brian Kawalya

Brian Kawalya

Chief Sports Writer
Brian Kawalya is an Award winning Journalist, Director and Chief Sports Writer of The-SportsNation, covering top events and breaking some of the biggest stories.
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