Old rugby boots getting a new lease of life in Uganda

Rugby is growing in popularity in Uganda, but is suffering badly from underfunding

Some of the youngsters who are now joining teams in Uganda

Some of the youngsters who are now joining teams in Uganda

Robert Powell is urging parents and young players in York to help him in his work with teenage teams in Uganda, by donating boots that they have outgrown

First published in News
Last updated
York Press: Photograph of the Author by , News editor

MUDDIED rugby boots that have rucked and mauled their way through York’s pitches could be given a new lease of life - thanks to a city expat working in Africa.

Robert Powell, 51, is urging parents and young players in York to help him in his work with teenage teams in Uganda, by donating boots that they have outgrown.

Mr Powell, who grew up in Poppleton and attended Nunthorpe Grammar School, has been working in Africa with the United Nations since 2001 and has been in Uganda since 2009.

He was encouraged out of rugby retirement after losing a golf bet, and now voluntarily coaches teams in Entebbe, on the shores of Lake Victoria, south of the capital Kampala.

Earlier this year, he ran an appeal with Poppleton Junior Football Club and collected 24 pairs of second-hand boots, along with strips from his brother’s club in Nottingham, and he now hopes players elsewhere in York will help kit out the rest of his club.

He said: “I will be back in York in September, again on leave, with a scheduled return back to Africa on 24th.

“Since many parents will be buying new boots for their boys and girls there may be an opportunity for me to get hold of the old pairs.”

He said Entebbe Rugby Club is composed of five sides, a Local Union team known as the Mongers; two ladies/girls teams known as the Sharks, consisting of players from various local orphanages and primary schools; the Whales, a recently-formed under-19s men’s team; and a tag rugby team from local school children who train and play on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

The teams all use a shared football pitch with Entebbe Secondary School and a recent training session had more than 35 boys and men, and more than 20 girls on the pitch at once.

Mr Powell left York in 1983 to join the military and served for eight years before spending ten years working around the world on logistics contracts in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Russia, before joining the UN.

He married in York in 2003 and returns to the city every nine months to see his parents He stopped playing rugby nine years ago but had taken up coaching while in the Army. He said: “Rugby in Uganda is a developing game which suffers from chronic underfunding from the International Rugby Board and Confederation of African Rugby, such that at grass roots level we have to rely on donations, handouts and sponsorship for even the most basic items such as Rugby Balls and boots for players.”

Anyone who can help is asked to email rjp1962uk@hotmail.com

Comments (8)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

10:25am Tue 5 Aug 14

pedalling paul says...

When fans of the losing side throw their tops onto the pitch in disgust, they often get collected by Oxfam and sent to the wilds of Africa and Asia.
One day a consignment of red tops was opened by the Chief of a remote hilltop village in Kurdistan. He looked inside and said "Oh dear, York have lost again....!"
When fans of the losing side throw their tops onto the pitch in disgust, they often get collected by Oxfam and sent to the wilds of Africa and Asia. One day a consignment of red tops was opened by the Chief of a remote hilltop village in Kurdistan. He looked inside and said "Oh dear, York have lost again....!" pedalling paul
  • Score: -14

10:32am Tue 5 Aug 14

Stockton Mick says...

Great guy.... contact details to contribute???
Great guy.... contact details to contribute??? Stockton Mick
  • Score: 0

11:01am Tue 5 Aug 14

Norman Van Hoogstraten says...

Is the person who wrote this article a proper journalist?

I was enjoying this article until half way down the page when it just descends into gibberish

Is this the work of a trained journalist who works on a newspaper?
Is the person who wrote this article a proper journalist? I was enjoying this article until half way down the page when it just descends into gibberish Is this the work of a trained journalist who works on a newspaper? Norman Van Hoogstraten
  • Score: 0

11:02am Tue 5 Aug 14

Robert J. Powell says...

rjp1962uk@hotmail.co
m I'm looking for persons who can act as collection points within their own area. Then I can come around in September and pick everything up.
rjp1962uk@hotmail.co m I'm looking for persons who can act as collection points within their own area. Then I can come around in September and pick everything up. Robert J. Powell
  • Score: 3

11:07am Tue 5 Aug 14

Robert J. Powell says...

I am having a few problems with connectivity. Not sure if my previous comment was sent in full, so I'll try again. I would like to find persons or groups willing to assist with collecting boots or kit that I can collect on my return to York in September. Trying to organize an appeal like this from so far away is fraught with problems, any offers of support would be gratefully received. My email is rjp1962uk@hotmail.co
m. Many thanks to all.
I am having a few problems with connectivity. Not sure if my previous comment was sent in full, so I'll try again. I would like to find persons or groups willing to assist with collecting boots or kit that I can collect on my return to York in September. Trying to organize an appeal like this from so far away is fraught with problems, any offers of support would be gratefully received. My email is rjp1962uk@hotmail.co m. Many thanks to all. Robert J. Powell
  • Score: 2

11:29am Tue 5 Aug 14

pedalling paul says...

Norman Van Hoogstraten wrote:
pedalling paul wrote:
When fans of the losing side throw their tops onto the pitch in disgust, they often get collected by Oxfam and sent to the wilds of Africa and Asia.
One day a consignment of red tops was opened by the Chief of a remote hilltop village in Kurdistan. He looked inside and said "Oh dear, York have lost again....!"
What rubbish. You just made that up.
Oh no I didn't....which reminds me of a local Pantomime that I saw years ago...Aladdin as I recall. The genie popped out of the lamp and said "Your wish is my command." Aladdin said "Can you make York City win three matches in a row?" The Genie said ...."Alas Master. Some things are impossible!"


But I wish the "old boots" initiative well. It deserves supoort.
[quote][p][bold]Norman Van Hoogstraten[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]pedalling paul [/bold] wrote: When fans of the losing side throw their tops onto the pitch in disgust, they often get collected by Oxfam and sent to the wilds of Africa and Asia. One day a consignment of red tops was opened by the Chief of a remote hilltop village in Kurdistan. He looked inside and said "Oh dear, York have lost again....!"[/p][/quote]What rubbish. You just made that up.[/p][/quote]Oh no I didn't....which reminds me of a local Pantomime that I saw years ago...Aladdin as I recall. The genie popped out of the lamp and said "Your wish is my command." Aladdin said "Can you make York City win three matches in a row?" The Genie said ...."Alas Master. Some things are impossible!" But I wish the "old boots" initiative well. It deserves supoort. pedalling paul
  • Score: -4

1:48pm Tue 5 Aug 14

CHISSY1 says...

Norman Van Hoogstraten wrote:
Is the person who wrote this article a proper journalist?

I was enjoying this article until half way down the page when it just descends into gibberish

Is this the work of a trained journalist who works on a newspaper?
I would imagine that when you were a child you played hide and seek on your own.
[quote][p][bold]Norman Van Hoogstraten[/bold] wrote: Is the person who wrote this article a proper journalist? I was enjoying this article until half way down the page when it just descends into gibberish Is this the work of a trained journalist who works on a newspaper?[/p][/quote]I would imagine that when you were a child you played hide and seek on your own. CHISSY1
  • Score: -2

4:40pm Tue 5 Aug 14

CHISSY1 says...

Norman Van Hoogstraten wrote:
CHISSY1 wrote:
Norman Van Hoogstraten wrote:
Is the person who wrote this article a proper journalist?

I was enjoying this article until half way down the page when it just descends into gibberish

Is this the work of a trained journalist who works on a newspaper?
I would imagine that when you were a child you played hide and seek on your own.
I'm not interested in anything you have ever said.
Yes you are or you would not have replied.You do come out with some rubbish.
[quote][p][bold]Norman Van Hoogstraten[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]CHISSY1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Norman Van Hoogstraten[/bold] wrote: Is the person who wrote this article a proper journalist? I was enjoying this article until half way down the page when it just descends into gibberish Is this the work of a trained journalist who works on a newspaper?[/p][/quote]I would imagine that when you were a child you played hide and seek on your own.[/p][/quote]I'm not interested in anything you have ever said.[/p][/quote]Yes you are or you would not have replied.You do come out with some rubbish. CHISSY1
  • Score: -2

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree