Ugandan cricket has suffered its fair share of highs and lows.
And if you thought last May’s freefall of the Cricket Cranes at their own backyard in the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League (WCL) Division III was the ‘lowest ebb’ moment for the game then you must rewind the clock to 2015.
It was then that a ‘little known’ Ghana threw a spanner in the works of what was a relatively subtle campaign for a new look and teen-packed Cricket Cranes that was destined to culminate into promotion to the ICC Global Twenty20 Qualifier.
Then Uganda buried its head in the sand when they lost by five runs after failing to chase down a joke of a target (74) in bizarre fashion at the Benoni Oval in Gauteng Province, South Africa.
Ugandan had previously made a fist of their blitz with powerhouses Namibia before emerging victors by two wickets and were literally one win away from qualification but the West Africans’ enthusiasm shut out the lights on them.
Baby Cricket Cranes skipper Kenneth Waiswa was part of that outfit that folded meekly in the face of adversity at Benoni.
But sport does give a second chance always. Today at the Nairobi Jaffreys Sports Club Oval in Nairobi, Waiswa, although he denies it, will want to make amends and get one over the unfazed Ghanaians.
“For us it is another day in office. Another day to try to do well and win a game for our country,” said the Aziz Damani all-rounder who evoked memories and comparisons with retired superstar Kenneth Kamyuka when he first broke onto the scene five years ago.
“We have no option but to go hard at Ghana because only the winner of this event goes to the World Cup in New Zealand next year. We know that they’re a hard fighting unit and not here by mistake.”
Ghana, alongside Botswana, have been labelled as the continent’s blue - eyed boys for their expanse development programmes that go beyond the boundary as justified by their recent rise in the rankings.
Both earned tickets to compete at this continental Qualifier after they hustled their way to the Africa Division II final in September last year in South Africa before Botswana toppled Ghana by three wickets in a swinging rubber that kept changing favours.
Ghana, never a side to be swayed by stage fright, will be bubbly when the umpires call for play to start but Waiswa, too, will have whispered ‘something’ to his comrades during the warm up session.
An evenly poised and no holds barred match is on our cards.
Host and favourites Kenya entertain Botswana, who are tutored by a son-of-the-soil in Joseph Angara, at the picturesque Nairobi Gymkhana Oval in the day’s other fixture.
- Published in International Competitions