Uganda Cranes in 'better shape' for Rugby Africa Gold Cup

Kenya's Isaac Adimo combines with a teammate to stop a Uganda attack. Image Supplied: Andrew Jackson Oryada

Uganda Rugby Cranes assistant coach Robert Sseguya says the team is in better shape ahead of the start of the 2018 Africa Gold Cup.

"We have tried to rectify the mistakes that saw us perform poorly when we lost to Kenya in the first leg of the Elgon Cup last month. The team is looking better and the players are responding really well," Sseguya told KweséESPN.

The Uganda Rugby Cranes will face a tough start to the campaign as they battle defending champion Namibia in Windhoek on 16 June.

But Sseguya says that although they will treat the game with a lot of caution, they are not scared of facing the Namibian team.

"There is really nothing special about some of these teams. It is just that as a team if you do things right and take your chances you win the game. We need to try to go and get something from that away game."

Sseguya also made it clear that the week-long training in Bloemfontein, South Africa will help polish the team with the use of good facilities. "We need to take this very seriously because this is not a mere Africa Gold Cup, but also a 2019 World Cup qualifier," said the former national captain.

Team captain Asuman Mugerwa also told KweséESPN that after their 34-16 defeat by Kenya in the Elgon Cup they're addressing all the weak points in the team. "We need to go all out and play a very tactical match against an experienced Namibian side," he said.

Meanwhile, Namibia coach Phil Davies said in a communique that this competition will be Namibia's toughest World Cup qualifier for the last ten years: "Despite the challenge, we are confident because we have a very strong team with the talent, the mindset and the attitude needed to compete in this type of event."

After battling Namibia, the Cranes will prepare for another away game against arch-rivals Kenya on 7 July doubling as the second leg of the Elgon Cup. The Cranes will then later host three games in Kampala against Tunisia, Morocco and Zimbabwe in August.

Fifteen games will be played among six teams in the Africa Gold Cup, with the best team to accompany South Africa to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan and the second-placed team advancing to the repechage (trial) tournament.