Pius Ogena has been in top form for Brian Makalama’s charges and currently leads the top try scorers’ chart with sixteen.
When you are a big team preparing for a derby game that can make or break your title chase, the last thing you need is missing key players.
And if you are Kobs preparing to face Heathens in a Nile Special Rugby Premier League top-of-the-table clash, the game plan starts with a player like Pius Ogena.
But the table leaders will visit their rivals on Saturday without the league’s top scorer.
Ogena has been in top form for Brian Makalama’s charges and currently leads the top try scorers’ chart with sixteen.
Kobs are, obviously, not short of depth and will still fancy their chances against Heathens away from home.
Ogena is one of three Kobs players who will be missing in action. Faragi Odugo, the team’s first-choice hooker, and his deputy Jude Jjuuko are also out.
The trio are part of the team representing East Africa in a curtain-raiser game at the Hong Kong 10s tournament this weekend.
Heathens’ Allan Otim, Kenya Harlequin’s Mark Omoding, and Kabras’ Asuman Mugerwa and Eliphaz Emong are the other Ugandan players on the team.
Kobs and Heathens will be fighting for the Lions Cup, and the hosts have the advantage going into the second-round encounter.
Heathens dramatically won the first-round fixture at Legends, with Aaron Ofoyrwoth scoring a drop goal with the last play of the game to hand the defending champions a slim 17-15 victory.
Rugby in Uganda has not grown to a level where players can be stopped from exploring such opportunities, and Kobs chose not to stand in the players’ way.
“It’s an opportunity for them to showcase their talent and even hopefully get necessary contacts for possible pro or semi-pro stints,” Kobs’ chairman Dr. Tonny Luggya told Pulse Sports.
“But we also have built good depth in the team all around, and we are optimistic they will step up,” he added.
Derrick Tukwasibwe, Byron Oketayot, and Alhajji Manano are some of the back-row options Kobs will be counting on in Ogena’s absence.
Trevor Maina will be expected to play as hooker in Odugo and Jjuuko’s absence.
Kobs are already without some of their key players who are part of the Uganda Sevens squad.
Adrian Kasito, Ian Munyani and Mark Osuna all last played for Kobs in the game against Stanbic Black Pirates.
Heathens are also missing the services of Michael Wokorach, Ofoyrwoth and Nobert Okeny.
With six games left to play, Kobs lead the log with 55 points and are one point ahead of the defending champions.
The result from Saturday’s game can see Kobs create some distance between themselves and Heathens to drop from the summit of the log.