Uganda 2017 Day 9: London, Dublin, Cardiff, Paris, Rome…….Kampala

The alarm sounded at 6.30am, but for once I wasn’t reluctant to get up as today was the day that I’d been waiting for a long time…the chance to see the Ugandan national rugby team in action against Zimbabwe at Legends Rugby Club in Kampala. We had packed and left by 7.10am ready for the seven-hour plus drive to Kamplala. The good news was that no elephants decided to delay us leaving Mweya, the bad news was that the car was making an awful noise. We reached Kasese at 8.10am and stopped at the Shell garage for fuel. I asked the staff to have a quick look under the bonnet while the car was being filled up. One of the staff unscrewed the cap for the radiator and his head was nearly blown off by a massive cloud of steam and boiling water. Half a bottle of coolant and several bottles of cold water later seemed to solve that particular problem. Power steering fluid was also topped up and all four tyres inflated. Half an hour later, we were on our way and the car sounded a lot better.

The drive to Kampala was uneventful. We stopped at Fort Portal for forty five minutes to have breakfast, but got to a shopping mall just by the ground at 2.50pm. We were going to meet Steve and Karen Peach, Jan and Rebecca from the Twinning Project along with Ronnie, our erstwhile guide at 3.00pm. To kill a bit of time, Mrs Green and I went into the mall and did a bit of present shopping for family and friends. The mall was very western looking and ample proof of how fast Uganda is changing in some aspects.

The others soon turned up and we collected our tickets from Ronnie. I had bought these several months before along with a Uganda Cranes rugby shirt. I had been after one of these for years and they were only on very limited release, so I was very pleased to get one. When we arrived at the ground, we had to go through lots of security checks, but once we were inside the atmosphere was brilliant. Mrs Green and I had VVIP tickets which meant that we had a table to ourselves under cover at one end of the ground with waiter service. The others were in the stands on the side, which was actually a better view, but also meant that they would fry under the hot African sun.

The game itself was very exciting particularly the first half. Zimbabwe scored after the first couple of minutes and I thought it was going to be one of those days, but Uganda hit back immediately and their fly half, Phillip Wokarach, began to run the show. He is one of those players that you just love to watch because he has so many tricks to his game and he was showing off his full range of outrageous dummies, flicks and passes behind his back. The crowd absolutely loved it and there was all sorts of dancing whenever Uganda scored. There was a man whose sole purpose appeared to be to wind the crowd up with his dancing and blowing a vuvuzela. It certainly worked!

The game was played at a furious pace. Uganda scored some sensational tries and ran out deserved 38 – 12 winners. Mrs Green and I were also delighted to find out that we got some free food as part of our VVIP experience. The waiters came round with big plates of roast potatoes, sausages, chicken wings and samosas which you could help yourself to.

At the end of the game both teams posed for a photo with some children who had been playing tag rugby at half time. Many of the Uganda team started by playing tag rugby, so we are hoping that the Conservation Cup will produce future internationals.  We left the ground, said goodbye to Ronnie and the others, who are heading back to the UK, and drove to our place of residence for the next two nights. It’s called Banana Eco Village and is about 15km outside Entebbe. We arrived just after 8.00pm, had a very nice chicken curry and retired for the night. We were both very tired but happy.

Tomorrow is a day of rest and relaxation at the eco village. We’re both looking forward to it!

Uganda vs Zimbabwe highlights

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