Uganda captain Kasiita abandons team ahead of Commonwealth Games

Emma Ecodu of Uganda outpaces Con Foley of Australia at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Francois Nel/Getty Images

The Uganda Rugby Cranes will miss the services of skipper Eric Kasiita at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games after the experienced skipper abandoned the team for further studies in the US.

"It is sad that we shall miss Kasiita. But he informed us three weeks ago that he will be travelling to the US for studies," head coach Tolbert Onyango told KweséESPN on Monday.

Onyango praised the former captain for helping the national team retain the Africa sevens title last year and qualify for the Commonwealth Games. The coach confirmed that Michael Wokorach will now captain the team in the tournaments ahead, including at the Commonwealth Games.

Team manager Micheal Wandera said that although Kasiita stopped rigorous training three weeks ago, the player still trained with the team once in a while. "We wish him well in the next move as he is expected to travel to the US next week," added Wandera.

About his team's preparations for the Commonwealth Games, coach Onyango said his players are very competitive and responding well before the final 12-player squad will be named.

Uganda's team will battle against Olympic gold medallists Fiji, Wales and Sri Lanka in their group at the Commonwealth Games. After the group stage, the top-ranked teams will advance to the medal-winning semi-finals while the rest will play classification games. Some of the new players likely to make the squad because of their impressive performances in the National League, include Ivan Magomu, Timothy Kisiga and Bryon Oketayot.

Ramzy Olinga, CEO of the Uganda Rugby Union (URU), also confirmed that the team will first play in the Victoria Falls Sevens tournament in Zimbabwe from 24-25 March before heading for the Sevens Series qualifiers in Hong Kong early next month.