Kenya itching to renew rivalry with old enemy Cricket Cranes

Thomas Odoyo, Kenya’s coach, says it will be ‘business as usual’ when he leads his star-studded side in a five-match Limited Overs Easter Series against the Cricket ‘Cranes starting tomorrow.

The Kenya Simbas jet into the country aboard RwandAir this evening and Odoyo says his men will be bustling when the sun comes out for their series opener against the hosts at Kyambogo Oval on Good Friday.

“We have answered our brothers’ call,” said Odoyo, in a telephone interview with this paper after his team’s workout at Ruaraka Oval in Nairobi. “Uganda have an important tournament coming up next month and they wanted a strong team that will give them good preparation.

“Everyone is in and they should expect a good contest. For us, it is going to be business as usual.”

Uganda CEO Justine Ligyalingi wrote to Cricket Kenya (CK) requesting them to retain the squad that played against Nepal in the ICC World Cricket League Championship matches last month. And CK have duly obliged with an aim of helping their ‘younger brother’ Uganda get ample preparation ahead of the ICC World Cricket League Division Three tournament which the latter will host next month (May 23-31).

The last time Kenya played Uganda in September, Uganda carried the day with a two-wicket win at the Nairobi Jaffrey’s Academy Oval in the same format (50 overs) that will be played over the entire series. The Cricket Cranes opposition for the two slots at stake, to earn promotion to the coveted Division II, include United States of America, Oman, Singapore, Canada and Malaysia.

Uganda have been quietly under-going non-residential training under the tutelage of Kenyan tactician Steve Tikolo at Lugogo and Kyambogo Oval, and will be itching to show their ‘old enemy and big brother’ that they are a much improved outfit from their last meeting.

TEAM KENYA
Nelson Odhiambo, Dhiren Gondaria, Pushpak Kerai (Kanbis), Shem Obado, Collins Obuya (Stray Lions), Nehemiah Odhiambo, Elijah Otieno, Alex Obanda (Swamibapa), Karan Kaul, Lucas Oluoch, RushabhVadrhan Patel (Nairobi Gymkhana), Gurdeep Singh (Nairobi Sikh Union) Eugene Ochieng (Kongonis) and Irfan Karim (unattached).

Coach: Thomas Odoyo Assistant Coach: Peter Ongondo Physio: Moses Ndungu Batting Coach: Maurice Odumbe

EASTER SERIES ITINERARY 
LIMITED OVERS (50) CONTESTS
Today: Kenya arrives
April 14: Match vs Kenya
April 15: Practice/Rest day
April 16: Match vs Kenya
April 17: Match vs Kenya
April 18: Practice/Rest day
April 19: Match vs Kenya
April 20: Match vs Kenya
April 21: Kenya departs

By INNOCENT NDAUWLA & DARREN ALLAN KYEYUNE

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Damani dismantle Charity to go top of Jazz Safari National Cricket League

Aziz Damani hurried Charity Trust Fund off the oval for their second successive win to go top of the Jazz Safari National Cricket League by eight wickets at Kyambogo Oval with 13 points after three matches on March 26.

Their closest chasers Challengers, recovering from their last outing setback where they went down by nine wickets to Damani, bridged the gap to one point in an equally ruthless manner with an eight-wicket win over sorry Patidar Samaj at the lakeside Entebbe Oval. But Division II graduates Damani, who lost their opening game to Tornado Bee, own the bragging rights for now after recovering to pick up two wins on the bounce.

On Sunday, they bowled out a student-packed Charity Trust Fund for a basketball score of 47 thanks to classy seam-bowling spells of 6/17 and 3/17 from Man-of-the-Match Kenneth Waiswa and rejuvenated Emmanuel Isaneez. Charity didn’t help their cause with carefree batting as witnessed by their top order batters Simon Ssesaazi (17 off 23) and Varinder Singh (12 off 29) who gifted the opposition their wickets cheaply after getting starts.

Damani top order batters Arnold Otwani (16 off 15), Emmanuel Hasahya (13* off 22) and coach-player Steve Tikolo (8*) survived a few scores on their to victory inside nine overs. 
Across town in Entebbe, national team trainees Irfan Afridi (4/1) and David Wabwire (4/12) partnered to bowl out Patidar for 40 before Mohammed Aneef (18) and Arthur Kyobe (12*) breezed home in just four overs. In Jinja, Amos Kyazze and Emma Odeng helped Africa Cricket Club get off the mark with a 44-run win over JACC.

WEEKEND RESULTS 
Division I
Nile 189/9 K.Tigers 142/10
Charity 47/10 A. Damani 48/2
Patidar 40/10Challengers 41/1
Division II
Africa 173/8 Jinja SS 129/8
K. Pirates 157/10 Mwiri 82/10
Division III
Nyakasura 178/10 JACC 75/10

By INNOCENT NDAWULA & DARREN ALLAN KYEYUNE

Close contest as UCA go to polls

Mukesh Shukla’s 11th hour inclusion onto the coveted list of candidates to take-over as chairman of Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) has had tongues wagging in the fraternity.

An earlier deadline of February 10 had ruled out the former vice chairman but after his club Kampala Institute of Cricket Clubs (KICC) ‘nominated’ him, the businessman took advantage of the ‘non-binding deadline’ ahead of the elective assembly due tomorrow at Kati Kati Restaurant, Lugogo.

Shukla’s late entry raised the number of contestants to the top job to three with Nile’s Bashir ‘Badu’ Ansasira and Tornado’s Paul Luswata Nsibuuka already in the fray whereas Eric Kamara (Wanderers) and incumbent Jeremy Kibuukamusoke (Tornado Bee) are vying for UCA secretary.

After complying with the National Council of Sports (NCS) sports regulations of 2014, UCA CEO Justine Ligyalingi revealed that other posts have been quashed and the mandate will be with the new chairman to appoint working committee heads including but not restricted to Finance, Disciplinary, Marketing and Games.

Outgoing chairman Richard Mwami, despite being eligible for another term, says he will not be standing pushing each camp to seize the occasion. 
“It is about bringing fundamental change and not just a change of guards,” said Shukla, also the vice chairman of NRM Entrepreneurs League in Kampala Central.

“There is also a basic area of concern which is financial transparency. We also have one ground and yet we should be with five from the strategic planning I did as vice chairman in 2009 under Dr Kato Sebbaale.”

But for Alvin Bagaya, who is from Ansasira’s camp, it is about giving the power of elections back to the people. “Many things have happened the wrong way lately,” said Bagaya.

“But if Badu is elected then it will be all systems go again. His plan is not out this world and if you have read his manifesto, it is very practical. His passion for the game is also unrivalled and the electorate seems to favour our candidate.”

Robert Kisubi, who is the campaigning manager of Nsibuuka, however believes many of the younger guys are rushing to takeover and advises that they should wait for their time.

“Our club always votes for the best candidate who is by a coincidence a Tornado this year,” said Kisubi. 
“He understands the game well, captained Uganda and is from a cricketing family of the Luswatas. From his world as a banker to financial consultant, Nsibuuka’s corporate governance will be key. He is his own man, the ambassador our game needs.”

Candidates for chairman
Ansasira ‘Badu’ Bashir - Nile CC, 
Paul Luswata Nsibuuka – Tornaddo
Mukesh Shukla – KICC

Candidates for secretary
Eric Kamara – Wanderers
Jeremy Kibuukamusoke – Tornado Bee
* Each of the 8 voting clubs will have a board member

By Innocent Ndawula

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Uganda off to a flyer in UAE T20 Cup

There is no better way Team Uganda’s coach Francis Otieno would have wanted his side to start the UAE International Women Twenty20 Cup.

The Lady Cricket Cranes started off at the invitational event with a convincing 87-run win over Oman at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium yesterday.

“It was a good game,” delighted senior player Franklyn Najjumba told this paper via phone. By then, the mood was a jovial one back in camp at Hotel Holiday International.

While Otieno will have to find solutions to a mid-order collapse, the Kenyan tactician will particularly be impressed with the team response.

Skipper Barbara Mukankusi’s three boundaries in an opening knock of 23 off 32 hardly got support from six batters on the order as Omani bowling trio Saya Channa (2/20), Sajina Rajesh (2/38) and Akshadha Gunasekar (2/21) enjoyed fine spells with the ball.

Uganda was reeling at 71-6 not until Najjumba and Carol Namugenyi walked onto the crease. The pair combined well for a 65-run partnership with 35 runs off 32 deliveries coming off Najjumba’s bat.

Namugenyi had 23 runs off 24 balls and 29 bowling extras had Uganda pile 126-7. The Ugandan fielding innings began with verve and put Oman in a tight spot at 5-3 after 5.5 overs courtesy of Namugenyi.

She snared outstanding figures of 4/3 and two maidens. That early blow set the tone as Consy Aweko (2/2) and Mackenzie Ayato (2/7) bowled out the Omanis for 39 runs. Today is rest day for Uganda but Oman takes on Kuwait in Group B.

UAE INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S T20 CUP
YESTERDAY’S RESULT
Uganda 126/7 Oman 39/10 
(Uganda won by 87 runs)

Quadrangular Series: Karashani, Masaba eager to get momentum

There was a feeling of satisfaction and dissatisfaction in both camps after Uganda XI overwhelmed Uganda Select by 120 runs at Kyambogo Oval on Day Two of the Quadrangular Series.

The day offered a reprieve for Davis Karashani’s Uganda XI men who got off the mark in the tournament after going down to Takashinga by three wickets in a low-scoring thriller at Lugogo on Sunday.

And it came at the expense of Brian Masaba’s Uganda Select side, who had a chance to go 2-0 up in the tournament, after a resounding 130-run victory over Kenya XI on Sunday.

Both Ugandan skippers Karashani and Masaba concurred that whereas one of the teams found its groove, the other (Uganda Select) played to a wrong script that left coaches Michael Ndiko and Steve Tikolo with a bitter taste in their mouths.

“The win came a little easy for us,” said Karashani, who scored 9 off 17 as his team set 228/9 and proceeded to bowl out their ‘understudies’ Uganda Select for a fluctuating 108 all out in 31 overs.

“We expected it to be a little tighter because these are guys we train with and know that can play good cricket.

They started well and restricted us but when we got to bowl to them they buckled under pressure.

“But we are delighted with the win. It means we are back in the tournament and must beat Kenya tomorrow (today) as we look forward to the Takashinga game on Thursday.”

Roger Mukasa (60 off 91) and Shahzad Kamal (47 off 69) rode their luck in a game-changing fourth-wicket partnership of 110 runs.

Irfan Afridi (3/31 in 10), Emmanuel Isaneez (2/34) and Trevor Bukenya (2/49) shined with the ball only for their batsmen to play second fiddle in the chase of what seemed as a ‘very gettable score’.

“We didn’t give a good account of ourselves,” concurred Uganda Select skipper Masaba, who was unbeaten on 40 runs as his team suffered defeat.

“The guys were a bit timid and our coach (Ndiko) has had a word with them. If we had played as we did yesterday (Sunday), we would have won.

“But the loss gives us a chance to wake up and came back strong against Takashinga.” Today’s contests will be tournament defining with Kenya, who ran the Zimbabweans close before losing by three wickets yesterday, taking on Uganda XI at Kyambogo.

But the bigger crowd is expected to be in Lugogo, where many faithful will be hoping Masaba and his ‘rookies’ can inflict pain on a unscathed Takashinga.

By INNOCENT NDAWULA & DARREN ALLAN KYEYUNE

Kyobe, Nsubuga lead Sikh Union to T20 glory in Kenya

Cricket Cranes mainstays Arthur Kyobe and Frank Nsubuga made hay on their semi-professional stints as they led their Kenyan side Sikh Union to a four-wicket win over Swamibapa in the Harilal Shah Memorial Twenty20 final at the Nairobi Gymkhana Oval on November 12.

Swamibapa captain Lameck Onyango won the toss and his openers Alex Obanda (55 off 47) and Naman Patel (21 off 21) went about their job of building a solid base clinically as they batted first.

But Ugandans, whose Kenyan franchise had endured a lukewarm season, raised the bar to ensure their team had something to cheer about in the season-ender.

First Kyobe, made a difficult running catch from long-on look easy fodder off the bowling of Tarandeep Singh to get rid of Patel with scoreboard reading 43 for 1 after 7.4 overs.

Then Nsubuga helped Abdul Rehman snare his first of the evening with a sharp catch from deep mid-wicket to dismiss the dangerous Nehemiah Ngoche Odhiambo for just four runs at 74 for2 in 10.2 overs.

The Ugandan off-spinner opened the bowling and his figures of 1 for 17 in 4 were a perfect foil for Rehman who destroyed the favourites batting line-up with superb figures of 5 for 21 as Swamibapa fell from 105 for 5 to 121 all out in 19.1 overs.

“Our bowlers didn’t give away too much,” said Kyobe, who shone with a match-winning knock of 31 off 35 balls at No.3 as Sikh Union sailed over the line with nine balls to spare.

“They made sure we would chase a target that was within our reach. We were under no pressure because we needed just six per over. I played at three because they had some left-arm spinners that were troubling our right hand batsmen. It is always good to go across the border and return victorious. It augurs well for our reputation and keeping in mind that we have big tournaments coming up.”

Nadeem Ahmed played anchor role for Kyobe with a 30 as Jadavji Bhimji 2/20 and Saumil Patel 1/21 tried to put the brakes on the chase in vain.

Harilal Shah Memorial T20 Tournament
Results – Final
Swamibapa 121/10 
Sikh Union 122/6 
Sikh Union won by four wickets
Upcoming Tournaments
Nov. 18-25: Takashinga-Kenya Tour Series
Feb – June 2017: ICC WCL Division Three

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Nairobi tourney chance for Tikolo to bond with Cricket Cranes

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.

UGANDA’S FIXTURES
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

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