Uganda Rugby Union (URU) in a statement dated 24th June 2021 revealed that Rugby Cranes Sevens (Uganda men’s national rugby 7s) player James Odong went missing from camp in Monaco. However, the statement was released on Friday, 25th June 2021.
“It has been brought to the attention of the Uganda Rugby Union Executive that one of the players, James Odong has been missing from the hotel where they had been placed for isolation as measures to control the spread of Covid-19,” URU said in a missive.
Uganda was meant to participate in the World Rugby Sevens Repechage event initially slated for 18-20 June in Monaco but were withdrawn after positive Covid-19 cases were found in their team during scheduled arrival testing. The team was also put under isolation quarantine process as determined by the Monaco authorities’ public health guidelines.
According to URU, Odong who is in possession of all his travel documents and a visa which expires on 26th June 2021 went missing on Saturday 19th June 2021 when the team was to undergo another Covid-19 test at a venue outside the hotel.
“Odong didn’t turn up for the test and when the team members returned to the hotel, he was not in his room or hotel complex,” another part of URU missive read.
URU further adds that they are against such acts of indiscipline and are working with relevant security agencies in Monaco to have the matter resolved. This is done in collaboration with tournament organizers, French Embassy, National Council of Sports and other authorities.
By press time, the rest of the team was on their way back home.
However, it’s not the first time such an incident has happened in rugby. In 2017, Rugby Cranes 7s trio of Ramathan Govule, Brian Kikaawa and Fred Odur vanished after the Oktoberfest 7s in Germany.
The national rugby 7s team faced a similar incident in the 2014 Commonwealth Games when two players, Benon Kizza and Philip Pariyo went missing after the event hosted in Glasgow, Scotland.
Several Ugandan sportsmen/sportswomen have gone missing while in action abroad, not only in rugby but across other sports disciplines as well.
For instance during the 2018 Commonwealth Games held in Gold Coast, Australia, six Ugandan athletes remained behind, that is; two weightlifters – Irene Kasubo and Kalidi Batuusa – two boxers – Regan Ssimbwa and Nasir Bashir – a table tennis player, Halima Nambozo, and cyclist, Vienna Ssekanga.