Aziz Damani dominate 2017 UCA Awards


2017: Aziz Damani
2016: Tornado Bee
2015: Tornado Bee
2014: Tornado Bee
2013: Tornado Bee
2012: Tornado
2011: Patidar Samaj

KAMPALA. In 2016, Tornado Bee became the first club to win four straight championships in the Jazz Safari National Cricket League.

However, their run was ended by Aziz Damani who won the title last year on the first time of asking. Damani was officially crowned as the 2017 champions during the League Awards’ ceremony at Lugogo Oval on Sunday.

It only felt a dream come true for Damani Club CEO Siva Koti Reddy who started the team in 2015. “We are very happy,” he said after lifting the trophy with captain Ghulam Hunzai on a rather cold evening after their UCA Super Cup match with 2017 Division Two kings Premier.

On the same evening, Kutchi Tigers’ Raghvani Shantilal was crowned as Player of Series thanks to his best batsman figures of 554 runs in 13 innings. Each year, the trophy cabinet grown bigger for Damani. Koti’s interest grew in the game after their franchise won the 2015 Night Cricket Championship.

They won the 2016 Kishore Pabari Memorial T20 Cup, 2016 Division Two and the 2017 Super Cup, meaning their topflight success is no fluke. Also, the ladies’ side Aziz Damani-Masaka SS also lifted the Women’s Division Two championship.

But Damani now wants to erase Tornado Bee’s records. “Definitely, the target is to win the Championship for both men and women,” Siva stated after confirming three new signings.
“Tornado Bee won four in a row but we want to win the next four.”

If anything, the signings of budding wicket-keeper Fred Achelam and left-arm seamer Charles Waiswa as well as in-form spinner Henry Ssenyondo from Challengers imply the huge intent by the yellow brigade.

Achelam replaces Arnold Otwani who left for Charity Trust Fund, was the best wicket-keeper last season with 20 dismissals.

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Ugandan cricket keen to move on from 2017 horror

A n uncomfortable lull has settled over Uganda’s senior men cricket team. The Cricket Cranes are currently in Qatar figuring in only their second tour following last year’s astonishing relegation to the ICC World Cricket League Division Four.

The relegation was initially greeted in unsparing terms, but there has since been a sharp reversal in tone. Before departing for the tour, which will have stopovers in not just Qatar but also India, Cricket Cranes coach Steve Tikolo spoke candidly with local media. Tikolo said the preparations should be viewed more through the lens of an amplifier as opposed to clarifier. The Kenyan rang a slew of changes, with the pick seeing Davis Karashani, Arthur Kyobe and Lawrence Ssematimba overlooked.

While Karashani failed to extricate himself from academic duties at Makerere University where he is pursuing a Law degree, Kyobe and Ssematimba were in no uncertain terms deemed surplus to requirements. 
The trio’s absence has made for an increasingly feverish atmosphere in the sense that the spotlight has been put on the three crucial facets of captaincy, opening gambit and wicketkeeping.

If Zephaniah Arinaitwe attacks the new ball with the trademark aggression that continues to belie his teenage years, Kyobe’s epitaph will well and truly be authored. It will in all honesty be a tragic footnote for the left hander whose career has been dazzlingly complicated. And that is putting it mildly.

Not one to go gently in the fading of afternoon into evening, expect Kyobe to chime with renewed purpose regardless of how Arinaitwe fares on the slow wickets in Qatar and India. Kyobe is not one to cower easily and he will stake his pressing claim to relevance on everything and anything.

The Challengers opening bat doesn’t have to be at his zestful best to talk up his chances. Such is his belief; it often arouses a steely and unflappable temperament. However, like a double edged sword, the powerful strain of the belief can either be a source of happiness or unending frustration.

Mirroring the opening gambit is the question of the captaincy. The question wouldn’t arise at all but for a gruelling undergraduate degree programme at Makerere University’s School of Law. The programme has seen Karashani and the Cricket Cranes not gently bump against one other as much as clash. Owing to this, Karashani’s availability for the 2018 ICC World Cricket League Division Four tournament in Malaysia rests on a cornerstone of conjecture.

New captain?
It’s not clear whether the erstwhile Cricket Cranes skipper will be writing his exams when the tournament occupies the backend of April and first week of May. If the two fail to meet each other halfway, then a new captain will have to be named.

Such an eventuality will leave Uganda heavily depleted. Not only would Karashani’s off break thrive on the slow Malaysian wickets, but also the player has over the years retooled his game by infusing his batting with dogged determination.

The 30-year-old’s captaincy — typified by aggressive field settings — will also be sorely missed. Roger Mukasa, who was named captain for the tour of Qatar and India, may be a gung-ho batsman, but his field settings are a tad too conservative.

It is hard to tell whether an approach that entails playing safe and letting opponents make mistakes will bring vast rewards for Uganda. For now, many Cricket Cranes fans’ preoccupation is with how the captaincy will affect Mukasa’s performance with the bat.

Elsewhere, with Ssematimba out of the picture, the burden of keeping wickets in Qatar and India will be shouldered by Naeem Bardai and youngster Fred Achelam. The glovework of both players is decent enough. While Bardai contributes more than Achelam with the bat, the former’s intermittent availability doesn’t stand him in good stead.

Achelam kept wickets as Uganda lost its first match of the bilateral series with Qatar Thursday. Mukasa complained about the weather being “too heavy” and “the ball...not travelling as it does back home.” Chasing 131 for victory in a T20 match, Mukasa and Arinaitwe brought up their 50 partnership well inside 10 overs, but Cricket Cranes lacked much-needed firepower after the two explosive openers departed.

This along with other problems (a knee injury picked up by Lloyd Paternott) means — the lull, or be it uncomfortable one, notwithstanding — it is pretty much a case of back to the future for the Cricket Cranes.

By Robert Madoi

CWB Autumn Project- 2017

Day one “on the job” today, in Fort Portal. What a spectacular setting, with the lush green Ugandan countryside set against the backdrop of the Rwenzori Mountains. The chances of finding an astro cricket pitch in the middle of the school field? Higher than you would think! The day had quite a gentle start, as the teachers due for coach training were slow to arrive, but it gave the team, especially the first timers, a chance to break themselves in by playing with a few local children who turned up to see what was going on.

Once the teachers began to arrive, it was straight on to the astro for some pairs cricket, with Sara leading the programme. Ed and Bert were doing sterling work with their expanding group of kids, and all was going smoothly……….then the bell rang for break time in the primary school and 200+ youngsters charged in our direction, eager to use up some energy. All hands to the pumps, and the newly trained teachers found themselves having some unexpected practice, as the field became covered with groups learning catching skills.

Back to lessons for the kids, a quick snack for the group, and the teachers had the chance to run some sessions themselves. Their cricket knowledge and skills were generally good, so our focus was on encouraging them to use as many ways as possible to introduce the HIV prevention messages into their sessions, and link those with cricket skills. On the other side of the field the rest of the team were working with the primary school children, then it was the turn of a group from the secondary school next door, all competent cricketers.

One of the teachers had invited us to his boarding school for an after school class, so it was into the bus and across town for our last session of the day, with about 60 teenage girls, ending with a very competitive game and a lot of smiling faces.


Certainly in at the deep end for us newbies, but we managed to cope with it all, and went back to our home for the week hot and tired, but nothing a couple of cold beers and a good dinner couldn’t fix. We’ve all already found some CWB special moments, and can’t wait to see what challenges tomorrow brings.

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