Kampala — The weekend saw Uganda rugby robbed of two souls that played pivotal roles. While World Cup winner and former Rugby Cranes coach Chester William succumbed to a suspected heart attack in South Africa on Friday, the same tragedy would befall Patrick Mileke’s family as he breathed his last on Sunday morning.
Williams strolled into the country in 2006 for a short stint that saw Cranes’ game improve tremendously. He was also the only non-white Springbok as South won the World Cup in 1995. For Mileke, his warm infectious smile lit up every rugby ground he set foot on.
He has three rugby playing sons Erasmus Aredo, Gabriel Aredo and Joseph Aredo. “He was a friend and father to everyone. Him and Deborah (widow) always had their spots at different rugby grounds,” said Uganda Rugby Union (URU) CEO Ramsey Olinga during the requiem mass at Our Lady of Africa Mbuya Catholic Church yesterday.
Mileke’s trio of sons who play for Kobs and Warriors only reinforced his love for rugby, a game he played at Makerere University in the early ’80s. “Papa”, as he had come to be known was celebrated along with wife Deborah Sifuna on July 6. Warriors Rugby Club dedicated their National 7s Series circuit to the couple and dubbed it the Mileke 7s.
Mileke who passed away at 58years will be laid to rest in Tororo off Nagongera road on Wednesday while a funeral service for Williams, 49 years, will be held at the Newlands Rugby Stadium on Saturday.