By Denis Musali
ICC Africa T20 Women's Qualifier 2021
Uganda v Namibia
Botswana Cricket Oval.
The Victoria Pearls of Uganda will face off against the Capricon Eagles of Namibia on Thursday in their 1st game of the 2021 T20 Africa Qualifiers in Gaborone, Botswana.
On a rather strange day for the team, it's been a very chilly day! However, it is expected to be hot throughout the tournament.
The Victoria Pearls have tasted blood at these qualifiers as they won the tournament in 2017 hence securing a maiden appearance at the Global Qualifiers in the Netherlands.
There are seven players from that victorious team in the current squad. Rachel Ntono, Naomi Kayondo, Stephanie Nampiina, Janet Mbabazi, Consy Aweko, Rita Musamali, and Immaculate Nakisuyi were all on that triumphant team.
The addition of exciting youngsters in Esther Iloku, Proscovia Alako, and Irene Alumo plus the experience that Evelyn Anyipo, Damalie Busingye, and Patricia Malemikia bring to the team should make them a better side.
The team missed out on the Kwibuka Tournament due to Covid-19 early this year, a tournament that would have been their 1st since their last assignment in Zimbabwe in 2019. The three weeks training camp in Entebbe however, ensured there was no repeat of that debacle and everyone on the team has returned a negative test since August.
Uganda is in Group B alongside Namibia, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria. Namibia, the strongest on paper out of this group will be Victoria Pearl's 1st opponent.
Namibia denied Uganda the global qualifiers opportunity in 2019 in Zimbabwe! The two sides met in Zimbabwe, and Namibia took the day that time ending Uganda's hopes of progression.
This game gives Uganda an opportunity to send a clear message to their rivals that they are here for business. A win will go a long way in bettering Uganda's chances of qualifying for the knock-out stages.
The go-to players for Uganda include Nakisuyi the team captain, her assistant Mbabazi and Aweko each of whom have an ex-factor. Ntono will most likely open the batting with the new ball responsibility shared between Irene Alumo and Evelyn Anyipo.
The flat and quick outfield at the BCA Oval should add spice to an already epic encounter between these two sides tomorrow.
The game will have a live stream on the ICC TV app.