By Denis Musali
The annual boys schools' cricket week will kick off tomorrow at various grounds in Kampala. 12 school teams will be competing for bragging rights of the best cricket playing school in the country.
After a round of qualifiers through out the country only 12 schools will be competing but will be joined by the Rwanda development side that will be compete as a guest team, Rwanda as guests will be a non scoring team and none of the other teams will earn points from games against the visitors.
Defending champions Jinja SSS together with record winners Busoga College Mwiri and St James will represent the East region, Ntare School and Nyakasura School are the western schools, Masaka SSS are the lone qualifiers from the south west while former winners Kololo SSS, Ndejje SSS, new comers St John's Mukono, and Mukono Parents are the central representatives.
The week long event will have games played in Lugogo, Kyambogo, Budo, and Gayaza High school with all the schools residing at Makerere College School.
Defending champions Jinja SSS are title contenders by virtue of being title holders but they have lost most last year's title winning side, Perry Wazombe moved to rivals Mwiri but the experience of playing in Div 3 of the local league will be key in pressure moments. The calm head of their coach Habib Mugalula is also an advantage to the side as he has been in these moments so many times and knows what to do.
Key Players; Joel Elelu, Derrick Bwire, Simon Oketcho, Cosmas Kyewuta, Obuya Robinson
Busoga College Mwiri
Record Winners Busoga College Mwiri like formula One its hard to imagine cricket week without Mwiri but gone are the days when they had everything their way, they have a mix of good players but not a great side. They will need their senior players to stand up if they are to win title number 17, they lost to Jinja SSS in the final last year and revenge might still be on their minds.
Key Players; Opio Ronald, Perry Wazombe, Trevor Bukenya and Ashraf Ssenkubuge
Nyakasura School have a good chance to win their 1st title in this edition after coming so close for the last four editions, Ivan Thawithemwira now has a team of experienced players who can measure up to the likes of Mwiri. The greatest strength of Nyakasura is the ability to play as a team, they lack stand out players but once the team shows up they will be a handful for anyone.
Key Players; Robert Ajuna, Brighton Muganzi, Isaac Ategeka, Pascal Murungi.
St John's Mukono
New comers St John's Mukono suprised all by winning the Central region title but are very dependant on one player and once he fails they all fall like a pack of cards. They will be a threat but only good enough for a semi final place.
Key Player; Zephaniah Arinaitwe
The former winners have fallen off the radar after letting most of their good players join the likes of St John's and Mukono Parents but in Frank Akankakwasa they have one of the best junior players in the country. He was their main man enroute to the semi finals last year and his all round abilities will be needed if they are to go so far.
Key Player: Frank Akankwasa
Also former winners of the schools cricket week Mukono Parents has invested in the future, they might win the title this year but will do so in the near future. They have taken on most of the U15 national team players who also feature in the league for Aziz Damani a sign to show they are looking ahead. The youngsters might have some stage fright but this will be an experience that will be usefull in future.
Key Player: Omara Daniel, Edwin Nuwagaba and Sowobi Yunus.
Coach Yusuf Nanga has been developing a boys side to match the potential of his girls and his teams are never a joke. He is a good organiser and despite his limitedresources he has been able to put together competitive sides. Masaka have dominated the south west region but need to make that dominance count in finals and if teams take their eye off them they will suprise many.
Key Players: Collins Okwalinga , Ronald Lutaaya.
The other schools such as Ntare School, St James, Ndejje SSS will be content with being participants and will hope that rain can score some points for them in very tough fixtures. Last year Ntare was at the end of a cricket week record score by a batsman after Zephaniah Arinaitwe smashed 200 runs against them in just 20 overs. The action starts tomorrow and will conclude with a finals event on Sept 1st.
1. Jinja SSS
2. Busoga College Mwiri
3. Mukono Parents
4. St John's Mukono
5. Ndejje SSS
6. Nyakasura School
7. Masaka SSS
8. Kololo SSS
9. St James SSS
10. Teso College Aloet
11. Ntare School
12. Aga Khan High School.
13. Rwanda School Select Side.