Since he took over as coach, Steve Tikolo, hasn’t had an opportunity to test his players in a highly competitive environment. The Four-Nation Quadrangular Series bowling off tomorrow in Nairobi gives a perfect chance. Nairobi tourney chance for Tikolo to bond with Cricket Cranes
Davis Karashani, Lawrence Ssematimba, Frank Nsubuga, Jonathan Ssebanja, Roger Mukasa, Arthur Kyobe, Charles Waiswa and Steve Tikolo are not new names on the international cricket scene.
Karashani is such a darling of many that even when he went into retirement prompted by a knee injury, many in the cricket circles continuously referred to him as skipper.
The sextet of Ssematimba, Nsubuga, Waiswa, Ssebanja, Mukasa and Kyobe has been in and out of the national set-up, enjoying success and failure in equal measure.
From the days of Tom Tikolo in 2005 to the first stint of his younger sibling Steve as batting coach for the Cricket Cranes in 2011, the Tikolos hold a special place in the hearts of Ugandans; each of them is addressed as coach, irrespective of the dugout they are commanding.
Coach Tikolo and his players have been starved of international action and they feel only victory at the Four-Nation Quadrangular Series bowling off tomorrow in Nairobi will strengthen their bond.
“It is not about me,” Karashani repetitively told journalists at the team’s flag ceremony for the event involving unknown quantities Qatar, Saudi Arabia and host-nation Kenya, when he was bombarded with questions about his return from retirement at Lugogo yesterday.
“These guys (team) want to make up for the past near-misses and this tournament presents them a chance to show what they can do after two years of no action. They are starved and it is understandable that they are pumped up for this tournament.”
Coach Tikolo was speaking about team cohesion, too, ahead of the return to his motherland. “It is a chance for us to work on team camaraderie and composition,” said the 45-year-old Kenyan legend.
“Such build-up tournaments will help us gel.
We are looking to play a couple of more games against Zimbabwe’s Takashinga as we gear up for the Dicvision III ICC World Cricket League early next year.” Uganda opens its campaign against Saudi Arabia in the One-Day International (ODI) Series at Nairobi Gymkhana Oval tomorrow.
Four-Nation ODI Series
Sept.20: vs. Saudi Arabia
Sept. 21: vs. Qatar
Sept. 23: vs. Kenya
Sept. 24: Final
Four-Nation T20 Series
Sept. 26: vs. Saudi Arabia
Sept. 27: vs. Qatar
Sept. 28: vs. Kenya