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Uganda’s Loss is Wales’ Gain as Absconding Rugby Players Apply for Asylum in Cardiff

Two Ugandan rubgy players who came to Glasgow for the Commonwealth games last year and vanished to avoid going home have resurfaced in Cardiff, after being signed for a local rugby team.

Benon Kizza and Philip Pariyo were on the national Ugandan team until they decided flying back at the end of the games was less a less attractive proposition than staying in the United Kingdom. Despite the Ugandan minister for sport saying at the time of their disappearance “We shall find them and make sure that they return home”, they have now claimed for political asylum in the United Kingdom.

Wales Online reports that after the pair were put into asylum accommodation in Cardiff, a charity put them in touch with the local Rugby club as a means to find them gainful employment. One of them was described by the chairman of the St. Peter’s RFC as “extra-gifted”, who said “Phillip played last Saturday and scored two tries. Benon was subbed and was on the bench”.

“One of the players approached our coach and mentioned he played a bit of rugby. It was noticed he was an extra gifted rugby player and we spoke to him about why he was here.

“It transpired he had been at the Commonwealth Games playing for Uganda and while here he and his mate decided to seek asylum. There was a bit of bureaucracy but we have signed them now.”

Despite the Welsh Rugby Union giving the signing the go-ahead, the Uganda Rugby Union was less impressed. An official said: “They have not sought our authority as a union, they have not been cleared by the union. What happened is that when we came for the Commonwealth Games we signed a code of conduct in order to come over.

“But they never returned to Uganda, they ran away. They remained in the UK and broke our code of conduct.

“You have to clear people through International Rugby to play for another club”.

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