Uganda Cranes star Micheal Wokorach hailed his team's "perfect competition" after they qualified for the Sevens World Cup for the first time in their history.
To qualify for the event, hosts Uganda defeated Zimbabwe 10-7 in the final of the 2017 Africa Cup Sevens tournament played at the Legends Club in Lugogo on Friday and Saturday.
Uganda and Zimbabwe qualified for the 2018 Sevens World Cup in the United States and the Commonwealth Games, which takes place in Australia next year.The Cranes will also play in the World Series qualifier tournament in Hong Kong in 2018.
"This has been a perfect competition for us because we won all our games right from the preliminary round," said Wokorach.
Tolbert Onyango, the Cranes' coach, had to lift his team before the tournament after returning from the Octoberfest Sevens, where three players disappeared after leaving behind their passports. The team had to motivate each other and focus on qualification for the World Cup and Commonwealth Games.
"They played as a unit and did what I expected of them," the coach said afterwards.
Zimbabwe's Shingai Hlanguyo told KweseESPN that they were disappointed to lose out to Zimbabwe in the final, but are happy to be involved in next year's showpiece events.
"We failed to keep it tight for the Ugandan team and lost towards the end. We are disappointed that after our hard work we failed to win the Africa sevens title. But we are happy that we have qualified for the World Cup," Hlanguyo added.
While Uganda will be making their first appearance at the Sevens Rugby World Cup, Zimbabwe have featured before in 1997, 2001, 2009 and 2013 tournaments.