By Daniel Etchells

Benon Kizza and Philip Pariyo represented Uganda at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games but didn't return home ©Getty ImagesTwo Ugandan rugby sevens players who failed to return home following last year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow have been found playing for an amateur club in Wales.

Benon Kizza, 27, and Philip Pariyo, 26, were both missing from the Uganda Rugby Cranes contingent that arrived home at Entebbe International Airport in August.

The Ugandan Government promptly launched an investigation after the duo were reportedly seen working at a car wash in Cumbernauld, a town 14 miles to the north-east of Glasgow.

It has now been revealed that after claiming asylum the pair turned up at a hotel for refugees in Cardiff, near to the playing fields of St Peter's Rugby Football Club, a team comprising of office workers, students and builders.

"We have actually signed them now and they are playing for us," club chairman, John Sweeney, told The Times.

"We have gone through all the bureaucratic procedures and everything and they are signed as St Peter's players."

The players were signed after Sweeney was approached by Communities First, a Welsh Government body focused on tackling poverty, asking if some of the asylum seekers could use the club's field to play football.

"Because we are a community club we said yes," added Sweeney.

"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."

Uganda finished in 11th place in the rugby sevens at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last year but were two players short when they returned home ©Getty ImagesUganda finished in 11th place in the rugby sevens at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last year but were two players short when they returned home ©Getty Images

The pair, who were reportedly found by the club when they were barely able to feed themselves, claimed asylum for personal and political reasons and are said to be "petrified" of a "potential backlash against them" according to an unnamed source.

The Ugandan Rugby Union is reportedly unhappy with the move claiming the players had broken its code of conduct by remaining in the United Kingdom. 

"They have not sought our authority as a union, they have not been cleared by the union," said Uganda coach Yayiro Kasasa.

"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."

After combining three losses with wins over Sri Lanka and Malaysia to finish in a share of 11th place, the Ugandan team became the unlikely crowd favourites at Ibrox Stadium last year receiving huge support in each of their matches.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
August 2014: 
Ugandan athletes urged not to "vanish" during Nanjing 2014