The visiting Takashinga franchise from Zimbabwe came and took the inaugural Uganda Quadrangular Series trophy at the expense of their fellow rivals from Uganda and Kenya.
But despite the absence of a podium moment for either of the Ugandan teams, there were more than a handful of positives to pick from the eight-day tournament that saw every team play each other twice in the round-robin like league format.
Aside Ugandan fans getting a taste of international cricket for the first time in more than four years, a hatful of previously ignored players grabbed the opportunity with both hands and reminded the selectors what they are capable of.
Left-hander batsman Shahzad Kamal, all-rounder Daniel Ruyange and lively bowler Trevor Bukenya showed that they were not out of place at the big stage whereas youngsters Derrick Bakunzi, Arnold Otwani, Siraje Nsubuga and Lawrence Ssempijja continued to make hay after some naysayers had previously written them off.
The old guns nicknamed generals after they returned from self-imposed retirements led by skipper Davis Karashani showed that they are fully back, experience translates into class and belong to the big time.
Opening bowlers Charles Waiswa and Emmanuel Isaneez were a fresh breath of air to their respective teams whereas wicketkeeper Lawrence Ssematimba and Frank Nsubuga showed they still have some fire in their belly with steely displays.
“This tour has been all the worth it,” said Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) CEO Justine Ligyalingi. “Thirty of our players have got game time against opposition of international quality. And one of our sides came within a whisker of winning the trophy. We are grateful to Kenya and Takashinga. We now want to make this series a permanent fixture.”
Ligyalingi added that the UCA is keeping in line with Project 2017. “We are going to offer two more tours to the team, one at home and another away, to continue preparing them for the International Cricket Council Division III World Cricket League that we shall host in May.”
Cricket Cranes coach Steve Tikolo, too, underscored the importance of the players to keep their feet grounded and urged UCA Board to continue selflessly supporting the team’s progress.
“We cannot rest on our laurels,” said the 45-year-old Kenyan legend. “The hard work must continue. Whoever puts up his hand and delivers will be picked. There is no landlord on the team. Our goal is 2017 and shall leave no stone unturned in preparation.”
Name: Division III ICC WCL
When: May 2017
Venues: Lugogo, Kyambogo & Entebbe
Teams: Six (USA, Canada, Oman, Malaysia, Singapore, Uganda)
Benefit: Top two teams progress to ICC WCL Division II
By INNOCENT NDAWULA