World Cup Qualifier -Coaches keep trust in Arinaitwe

The effort put up in the two warm-up matches against Kenya select sides have defined Team Uganda’s new batting potential ahead of the ICC U-19 World Cup Qualifiers.

Regardless, there is still concern notwithstanding ability to score 250 plus runs in games against the Nairobi XI and Kenya’s seniors earlier this week.

The team’s best batsman Zephaniah Arinaitwe (pictured bowling) is struggling to perform. “He is going through a patch of poor form,” Team Uganda assistant coach Jackson Ogwang told this paper.

Now in four successive warm-up ties, the opening batsman Arinaitwe has struggled to cross the 25-run mark against the Uganda Select sides and Kenya.

In those innings, his best return was 21 runs in the last tie against Uganda XI at Lugogo last Saturday.

He made 14 runs off 17 balls against the Nairobi Select but struggled further with only 8 off 7 against Kenya XI on a batting wicket at Kanbis Sports Club in Eastleigh this week.

But Ogwang still trusts the 16-year-old. “I believe in his abilities. He just needs one good score to get his confidence back and he is good to go.”

“To beat the odds, we need Arinaitwe scoring. We trust him and shall work with him to improve the figures in one way or another,” coach Francis Otieno noted.

Arinaitwe was Uganda’s best batsman with 114 runs in five innings during the last pursuit for a ticket to the ICC Youth World Cup in Malaysia two years ago.

His best score was a 37-ball 59 in the nine-wicket win over Papua New Guinea before Uganda came fourth in the road to Bangladesh.

“I will come better. I need to be patient too,” Arinaitwe offered in a recent chat with this paper.

“He knows what the team requires of him and we’ll back him up,” captain Kenneth Waiswa said.

The Baby Cricket Cranes begin their quest for the lone slot to World Cup slated for New Zealand next year against Botswana at Jaffrey Oval tomorrow.

Uganda last took part at the global event 12 years ago in Sri Lanka.

ICC AFRICA U-19 
WC QUALIFIER - JULY 1-8
PLAYING TOMORROW
Uganda vs. Botswana
Kenya vs. Ghana 
SUNDAY
Ghana vs. Uganda
Kenya vs. Botswana

By DARREN ALLAN KYEYUNE & INNOCENT NDAWULA

Africa Cricket Club working to keep machine well-oiled for topflight return next season

The genesis of cricket in Uganda was centred around the European and Asian communities that often gathered to play for fun and leisure in the early 1900s.

It was not until the early 1950s that some locals got fully engaged in the gentleman’s sport under Africa Cricket Club (ACC). Today, ACC is the oldest club.

On the flip side, ACC has been stuck in the National Men’s 50-Over Division Two League tier since relegation in 2011. “We were not playing responsibly at the time,” ACC senior player Sylvester Rokani recalls how demotion engulfed them.

For five straight years, ACC has jumped high but failed to get hold of the promotion key. Why? 
“Our belief is growing players and enjoying game but often, our upcoming talent has been snatched by big money teams as soon as they peak,” explained Rokani.

On Sunday, ACC continued their perfect start to the season making it two wins in as many matches with a 21-run victory over Premier at Budo Oval. That was preceded by the opening 24-run win over Mwiri at Entebbe on February 7. Clearly, there is something that has changed about the 2006 and 2007 top-flight champions.

“The team spirit and morale is excellent,” Rokani noted. “We secured a few sponsorships, signed some really important players which adds oomph.”

Unlike before, ACC has now got a kit sponsor in Case Medical Centre, whose proprietor Dr. Kato Sebbaale doubles as the club chairman. The club also generates funds from club members, who contribute annual subscription fees of Shs300,000 each.

The club has also successfully serenaded Kintu brothers Michael and Aggrey as well as Timothy Erumuka from Jinja-based Rounders and young guns like Gaddafi Jjunju from partner school King’s College Budo.

Michael’s knock of 25 off 35 and Emmanuel Odeng’s half-ton of 55 runs off 83 helped ACC set 194 in 49.2 overs. 
Then left-arm Timothy Erumuka single-handedly blew away Premier’s with figures of 7 for 39. Pace bowlers could be the thing for ACC this season since Odeng was also crucial with a fine spell of 6 for 23 in the win over Mwiri. With such developments in place, many will expect ACC returns to the big time next year.

ABOUT ACC: Started: 1950 Captain: Richard Lwamafa Twitter Handle: @AfricaACC

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Pioneer aiming to keep pace with leaders KICC

It’s a three-way battle for the title among Kampala Institute of Cricket Clubs (KICC), Pioneer and Tornado B in the ongoing National Women’s 40-Over Cricket League.

The trio have won their last four matches but with two of the competitors out of action, Pioneer (30 points) could leapfrog KICC (31) and return to top when they face Ndejje-Premier at Lugogo Oval today.

The ladies in pink may be fancied but must display their experience with the bat against Premier’s bowling pair of Esther Nalubowa and Hilda Kabaseke (9 wickets apiece).
“Much as I am ready mentally, I need to improve physically,” said Pioneer’s opener Barbra Mukankusi.

Former Lady Cricket Cranes skipper Mukankusi has so far managed 96 runs from five innings and is hungry for more. “Surely, I need to pile a good total and help my team keep firm in the title race,” noted the 31-year-old mother of two.

With support from her fellow opener Leila Namaganda (43 runs from six innings), Mukankusi also has back up from the pair of Franklyn Najjumba and Carol Namugenyi, who have combined for 222 runs.

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