Saudi meal for Uganda at Easter

At the back of the minds of the senior national team players, the clock is ticking fast to the ICC World Cricket League Division Four Championship.
That imminent showpiece comes April 28 - May 5 in Malaysia and each second counts for coach Steve Tikolo’s charges.
The Easter weekend will see his side physically and mentally away from their families as Team Uganda fine-tunes preparations for the Asia mission with a Bilateral Series against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The five-match Series begins today when Uganda faces the men from the Middle East in a T20 blitz at the University Oval in Kyambogo.
“Our target is to win here as we prepare for our next tournament in Kuwait,” captain Muhammad Afzal said, as his coach Liaquat Ali translated, at the Series’ launch in Lugogo yesterday. “The weather is quite pleasant and we believe we shall put up a challenge,” added Afzal.
Their Pakistan-born coach Ali played for Pakistan Islamic team from 1986-1988 and has coached in Saudi since.
“The Saudi tour gives us the opportunity to work on areas such as team strategy, plans and combinations and look to perfect them before Malaysia,” Tikolo told Daily Monitor following a lengthy selection meeting on Wednesday night. Key is how skipper Roger Mukasa consolidates the batting unit that comprises of experienced Hamu Kayondo and Shahzad Kamal as well as youngsters Simon Ssesaazi, Zephaniah Arinaitwe and Simon Ssesaazi.
There should also be a final toss of the coin between wicket-keepers Fred Achelam and Arthur Ziraba.
Spinners Irfan Afridi, Frank Nsubuga and Henry Ssenyondo will need company of seamers like the Waiswas Charles and Kenneth, Deus Muhumuza and Brian Masaba.
The East African nation last sat on a cricket table with the Saudis back at the Four-Nation Series in September, 2016. “I wish to state that they are a good team. I believe we are up and ready for the challenge at hand.” Tikolo recalled the previous meeting in Nairobi. “When we played them in Nairobi, they seemed a balanced side with a strong batting line up, two good opening bowlers and some good spinners. An area that they lacked a bit in was their fielding.
That might have changed since it’s about 19 months now since then. We just need to focus on our game, make sure we back ourselves and play good cricket.” Tikolo added.

SAUDI ARABIA TOUR OF UGANDA

BILATERAL SERIES ITINERARY
TODAY - MATCH 1 (T20- 2PM)
Uganda XI vs. Saudi Arabia XI
Game to be played at Kyambogo

By DARREN ALLAN KYEYUNE & MAKHTUM MUZIRANSA     

UCA National Academy gathers steam at Lugogo

WHAT’S ON SCHEDULE
What: National Cricket Academy
When: January 21-31
Venue: Lugogo Cricket Oval
Numbers: 25 participants

KAMPALA. Two days into the first-ever Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) National Boys Cricket Academy, the coaches in charge Steve Tikolo, Franco Otieno and David Obuya are overwhelmed by the talent exhibited thus far.

Lugogo Cricket Oval has been a bee-hive of activity with the 25 players in the academy making the field a beautiful spectacle alongside the men and women’s national sides – the Cricket Cranes and Lady Cricket Cranes respectively.

“Every time I see you Ugandans playing cricket, I see a group of talented individuals,” said Obuya, who also worked with Baby Cricket Cranes (national boys U-19 side) during the International Cricket Council (ICC) Africa U-19 World Cup Qualifier in Nairobi, Kenya last May.

“We are going to work on several aspects of their game to help them become better. Obviously talent is not their problem. But execution of shots, bowling to plans and better game reading. We want to empower them with a better understanding of the game and etiquette.”

UCA Development Officer Henry Okecho highlighted the importance of the training and also revealed that the ‘respected’ Kenyan tacticians were the most suitable to run this core programme for the association. 
“It is a 10-day residential programme with sessions in the morning (9am to 12pm) and afternoon (3 to 6pm),” disclosed Okecho.

“In my opinion it is long overdue as we had planned it for December 2017. There is no doubt that this programme will help us build our stocks for both the U-19 and National teams. Our plan is to set up an U-23 program that would take up most of these players and help prepare them for international competition. This program also acts as a bridge between junior and senior cricket.”

Notable players invited for the International Cricket Council (ICC), Bankstown Cricket Club (Australia) and the National Council of Sports (NCS) sponsored academy are national team trainees Steven Wabwose and Frank Akankwasa.

PLAYERS IN NATIONAL ACADEMY
Soroti: Emma Twijukye, Aaron Okwi, Pius Oyena,
Jinja: Eddy Agaba, Steven Wabwose, Calvin Watuwa,
Robinson Obuya, Joel Elelu, Marvin Kitamirike, Pius Oluka. Kampala: Perry Wazombe, Cosmas Kyewuta, Juma Miyaji, Ashraf Ssenkubuge, Frank Akankwasa, Simon Okecho, Gerald Mubiru, Ronald Opio, Ramanthan Ochimi, Fort Portal: Pascal Murungi, Samuel Ntimba, Isaac Ategeka, Alfred Alijuna, Moses Ahura Masaka: Ronald Lutaaya

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By INNOCENT NDAWULA & DARREN ALLAN KYEYUNE

Damani, Challengers enjoys fine starts at Kishor Pabari memorial tournament

There may be need for Kishor Pabari to the current generation in Ugandan cricket.

Originally from India, Pabari is known to have supported many Asian-born cricketers like Nehal Bibodi and, offered sponsorship and cricket equipment in Uganda when he came here in 1982.

He died in 1993 and a year later, a tournament to remember Kishor’s works was organised. The Kishor Pabari Memorial returned with the second edition involving six franchises at Lugogo and Kyambogo Ovals at the weekend.

With several incentives for every nitty gritty, this has triggered some impressive displays in the six round-robin matches played. 
“There are several bonuses set like Shs50,000 for every man-of-match award,” organiser Hanumant Katkar told this paper.

“If one’s team wins, then a every wicket is worth Shs5000 shared by a bowler and fielder (if its a catch and Shs1000 per run made. It’s a bit lower for the losing team.” he added.

That means Challengers’ skipper Ivan Thawithemwira scooped Shs75,000 after smashing a half-ton of 75 runs off 28 balls as they defeated the Rwanda Select XI by 131 runs on Saturday.

“That’s good money,” Thawi said of the bonuses and Shs5m cash prize set to be given out after the final this Sunday.

“But whether there was no money or not, Challengers is a competitive side that would love to win every tournament they play,” the lanky batsman said following two wins out of three ties.

Although Rwanda XI failed in their attempt to chase Challengers’ 232-5, their batsman Eric Hirwa (33 of 26) was picked as player of match ahead of opponent Sadic Fahad (5/19).

National coach Steve Tikolo and Charity Trust Fund captain Jonathan Ssebanja turned up for Aziz Damani.

The Division II champions lost to a Nicholas Kebba-inspired (34 off 48) Tornado Bee by six wickets but recovered by beating Challengers on Sunday.

Here, Brian Masaba took the match’s best player honour after picking 5/15 and making 19 off 38 but Tikolo’s 36-ball 48 was equally outstanding.

KISHOR PABARI MEMORIAL TOURNAMENT
ROUND-ROBIN RESULTS
Challengers 94/10 Aziz Damani 95/2
(Challengers won by 8 wickets)
Challengers 232/5 Rwanda Select XI 101/10 
(Challengers won by 131 runs)
Everest 147/5 Rwanda Select 55/10
(Everest won by 92 runs)
KICC 141/8 Rwanda Select XI 113/10 
(KICC won by 28 runs)
Aziz Damani 136/7 Tornado Bee 140/4
(Tornado Bee won by 6 wickets)

Cricketers thirst to be fully quenched at 2015 UCA Awards Night

Recognising individuals that excel in sports is not common in Ugandan sport. However, it’s not that rare. A few bodies including Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) do reward best performing sportsmen.

In the aftermath of last year’s edition, CEO Justine Ligyalingi assured the UCA Awards Gala would be an annual occasion like Christmas Day.

True to his word, the UCA Awards Gala are here again. Guests will converge at the Copper Chimney Restaurant in Lugogo to reward 2015’s best tomorrow night. The Gala has been spiced up with sponsors Nile Breweries and Pepsi. “We are grateful for their contribution towards the event,” Ligyalingi said. “With their support, we expect this to be a success come Thursday (tomorrow).” According UCA Development Officer Henry Okecho, shortlisted contestants will battle for nine awards.

The biggest of them all is Male Cricketer of Year gong whose contestants are 2014 winner Roger Mukasa (Tornado B), Ivan Thawithemwira (Challengers), Hamu Kayondo (Wanderers) and Irfan Afridi (KICC).

AWARDS CATEGORIES
Male Cricketer Of the Year
Female Cricketer Of The Year
Young Male Cricketer of the Year
Young Female Cricketer of the Year
Volunteer of the Year
Team Manager of the Year
Coach of the Year

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Cricket Cranes intent to skip Botswana hurdle at Africa T20 championship

New Cricket Cranes skipper Brian Masaba is a man known for few words, serenity and precise judgment.

After guiding a new-look Team Uganda to an opening eight-wicket victory over Tanzania on Friday, Masaba believes his side can go on and produce a miraculous show at the Pepsi ICC Africa Division One Twenty20 Championship in Benoni, South Africa. 
“In spite of the obvious lack of experience in our side, we are still going out to win every game,” Masaba told Sunday Monitor via phone from the team base at Garden Court in Johannesburg.

“That’s how the game of T20 should be played,” the former U-19 skipper said. Such mentality is what Masaba will instill in his teammates today when they face Botswana in tournament Day Three at the Sahara Willowmoore Oval in Gauteng.

“We want to take one game at a time and slowly win back full trust from our fans back home,” he said. There could be bowling changes against the Karabo Modise-led side with Masaba opting for more spin as the wickets offer much turn.

And further, all debutants impressed coach Peter Kirsten in the victory over the Tanzanians which has ignited a growing aura of confidence in the team camp. 
Particularly, the South African tactician lauded Kamal Shahzad’s work rate after he took 1/32 as Tanzania set 128 for 7.

However, spinners Frank Nsubuga (2/12) and Henry Ssenyondo (2/8) stood out most with pivotal spells including the prize wicket of Abhik Patwa who was dropped early and went on to clobber four boundaries and five maximums for a 51-ball 73. Uganda’s reply received an early blessing when Arthur Kyobe (34 off 22) was dropped in the third over (23-0). The left-hander went on to put up an opening stand of 60 with his Challengers’ counterpart Arnold Otwan.

The latter briefly shared the crease with Shahzad (13 run-a-ball) and Otwan earned a precious maiden international half-ton of 51* off 40 deliveries in a match-winning 43-run third-wicket combo with explosive Jonathan Ssebanja (29 off 13) in the 15th over.
More decent batting against the Batswana could illuminate the Cricket Cranes’ chances in the quest for a berth at the ICC Global T20 Qualifier due Scotland from July 9 August 2.

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More at stake as Uganda, Kenya meet in T20 derby

From the Rugby Elgon Cup, perennial Cecafa engagements and more, you do not need much to tell the sporting rivalry between Uganda and Kenya.
A new episode of this East African derby is on cards today when the two friendly foes clash at the oval today in Benoni, South Africa on Day Two of the Pepsi ICC Africa Division One Twenty20 Championship. 
This will be the sixth T20 meeting between both sides in four years as they pursue the two available slots to the ICC Global Qualifier scheduled for July 9 - August 2 in Scotland.

“We need to beat either of Kenya or Namibia to have a chance for a berth in Scotland,” Team Uganda captain Brian Masaba said. “Obviously, we know the Kenyans better and we are ready to throw everything at them for a result,”

Mission Scotland
The Cricket Cranes will not only be aiming to pay back 19-run defeat suffered in front of their home crowd at Lugogo as they surrendered their African Twenty20 title to Kenya in 2013, they know victory will help them inch closer to Scotland. 
“That was a painful loss to take and this is the perfect time for revenge,” said veteran spinner Frank Nsubuga. 
In that loss, Alex Obanda, who was dropped early on, blazed 64 off 47 to help Kenya set 156 for 5. 
With charged levels of adrenaline, top-scorer Deus Muhumuza (22 off 16) and Kenya’s Tanmay Mishra had to be calmed down as Uganda fell short on 137.

“Defeat against our brothers always leaves us wounded but we will be pumped up enough to erase such low memories on Saturday (today),” Nsubuga added. 
Whereas Uganda has a new look side that has seven eight new faces from the team that was in Windhoek, Kenya have kept faith with their tried and tested crop, adding only a few youngsters.

ICC AFRICA TWENTY20 DIVISION I CHAMPIONSHIP 
TODAY’S FIXTURES - BENONI, S. AFRICA
Uganda vs. Kenya 
Namibia vs. Ghana 
Kenya vs. Botswana

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Cricket Cranes seek flying start at Africa T20s

 It probably wasn’t appealing enough in the eyes of many as new skipper Brian Masaba was handed the national flag by National Council of Sports official David Katende during the Cricket Cranes’ flag-off at Lugogo to the Pepsi ICC Africa Twenty20 Championship on Wednesday.

The bitter truth is that the fraternity at large is either yet to brush off the recent failure at January ICC World Cricket League (ICC) Division II tourney in Namibia.

Or, many a fan were yet to offer full confidence to the faces in a new-look team that Masaba leads at this weekend’s continental showpiece in Johannesburg, South Africa.
“After that substandard show in Namibia, it is difficult to win over our fans that easily again,” Masaba concurred before the team flew out yesterday.

“But I urge the fans to count on us,” the batting all-rounder said. “The past is behind us and our vibrant side is ready to play and restore the pride of Ugandan cricket.” 

To quickly affirm his words, Masaba must mastermind an opening victory for the 2011 champions against southern neighbours Tanzania in Benoni this morning. “Once the players apply themselves as expected, we will be on course for a decent show,” added the former U-19 skipper. 
“Our two months of hard work must be vindicated with perfect start against the Tanzanians,” said Varinder Singh, one of the four debutants. 
“This is the time for some of us to perform and stamp our mark at the bigger stage,” another new comer Derrick Bakunzi, the current U-19 captain, chipped in.

With experienced Abram Mutyagaba having withdrawn from the set-up in the 1th hour, 2013’s tournament best batsman Arthur Kyobe (221 runs) will likely open the innings with 18-year-old Abdallah Lubega, who is having a second crack in the senior side after his short-lived first outing in 2011.

But Uganda must keenly watch Tanzania’s skipper Hamisi Abdallah, top order batsman Abhik Patwa, Athuman Kakonzi and enterprising all-rounder Benson Mwita.

The latter emerged the best bowler with an economy rate of 7.42 and 15 wickets as Tanzania finished third behind Uganda at the 2013 edition held in Kampala.

PEPSI ICC AFRICA TWENTY20 CHAMPIONSHIP
TODAY’S FIXTURES – BENONI (10am)
Uganda vs. Tanzania 
Namibia vs. Ghana 
Kenya vs. Botswana 

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UCA intent to bear fruits at Mini Cricket finals

The obligation of nurturing talent through well-structured grass root systems has proved more of a burden than necessity to many sports federations in the country.
To a large extent, Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) has done the opposite. Schools’ cricket week programmes, clinics, camps and Mini Cricket competitions are all part of the vindication. 
And as the latter Crown Beverages Pepsi and Banks Town Cricket Club-sponsored event climaxes at Lugogo Oval today, UCA wants to score highest.

“We are sure of getting tomorrow’s stars probably for the ICC 2023 ODI World Cup,” UCA development manager Henry Okecho.

“There are key youngsters from the regional qualifiers we are trying to keep our keen eyes on,” Okecho told Daily Monitor.

The Mini Cricket started early this year with the District competitions, where a total of 18 districts and 143 primary schools participated across five different regions. 
And 16 schools that triumphed in the different regions will take part in the U11 and U13 categories in both genders. 
Some of the current Cricket Cranes players now in South Africa are products of the Mini Cricket such as Roger Mukasa, Jonathan Sebanja and Henry Senyondo from East Kololo Primary School, Davis Karashani from Lohana Academy (Kampala) and Arthur Kyobe from Magwa Primary School (Jinja).

2014 MINI CRICKET FINALS FINALISTS 
CENTRAL REGION 
U-11 Boys - St Edwards PS 
U-11 Girls - Nsaasi PS 
U-13 Boys - Kihande PS 
U-13 Girls - Luwero Boys 
NILE REGION 
U-11 Girls - Kamuli Girls PS 
U-11 Boys - Kamuli Boys 
U-13 Girls - Bugabwe PS 
U-13 Boys - Bugabwe PS 
WESTERN REGION 
U-13 Boys - Kyanjuki PS 
U-13 Girls - Bulembia PS 
U-11 Boys - Kitiiri PS 
U-11 Girls - Kyanjuki PS 
EASTERN REGION 
U-11 Girls - Yoweri PS 
U-11 Boys - North Road PS 
U-13 Girls - Mudakori PS 
U-13 Boys - Yoweri PS 
KAMPALA REGION 
U-11 Girls - East Kololo PS 
U-11 Boys - Naguru Infant PS 
U-13 Girls - Nagalama Mixed PS 
U-13 Boys - Entebbe Jnr. Sch.

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