After the premature cancellation of the Rugby Premier League in September this year, Heathens emerged champions of the 2019/20 season off 63 points, five ahead of second placed Kobs though with five games unplayed by all teams.
However, Heathens who retained the title and claimed a record 15th championship this season officially received their trophy on Saturday at Kyadondo Rugby Club in a function attended by players, Uganda Rugby Union (URU) officials and league sponsors Nile Special Stout.
Heathens Captain Michael Wokorach who is one of the most capped players in the league led his side into celebrations at the afternoon colorful event.
“Well done to the entire team for being able to retain the trophy. It’s an honor to be record league winners and going forward we can only get better.”
“Of course we would have loved to win it after completing all our games but Covid-19 happened. However, since we were table leaders we are happy that we are raising the trophy once again,” Wokorach said.
Nile Special Stout’s Francis Nyende congratulated Heathens and acknowledged the challenges faced by sport this year stating that neither clubs nor stakeholders had the financial muscle and capacity to sustainably meet the conditions for resuming league.
“Thanks to all the teams who participated in the league, we don’t take it for granted.”
“It’s been a challenging year for everyone but winners will get their package despite the league ending prematurely,” Nyende said adding that next year will be big and better.
URU president Godwin Kayangwe while speaking at the function revealed that it’s been a tough year for rugby and albeit reinstation of competitive play in September, it was tough to swing back into action due to heavy costs of running the league in Covid-19 times.
Even at the cheapest cost of Sh.240,000 then, this was a heavy load for clubs, sponsor or URU to shoulder (1 Club of 30 players and staff would require UGX 14,400,000 per month of activity).
The focus has now been shifted to the resumption of rugby in 2021 utilising this time to engage stakeholders to ensure rugby returns at the earliest possible time sustainably.