Having been a ‘victim’ of the International Cricket Council (ICC)’s security drive, with global showpieces being taken away from Uganda twice, Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) is ensuring they are not third time unlucky.
In August 2010, ICC Security Manager Sean Carroll from Australia ruled against Uganda hosting a must-win Intercontinental Shield match against Namibia following two bomb blasts that rocked Kampala on July 11. Uganda went on to comprehensively lose that first-class match by 10 wickets in Windhoek.
Then in October 2014, UCA looked on helplessly as more games were taken away from them with two ‘powerful’ participating nations USA and Bermuda allegedly at the forefront of pressurising ICC to change venue. Both countries from the ICC Americas Region insisted that Uganda was not safe to host the ICC World Cricket League (WCL) Division III tournament, once again citing insecurity because of the Al-Shabaab terror alerts then.
In the end, the alerts turned out to be mere scares and justice was served as Uganda finished second at the meet hosted by Malaysia and forthwith progressed to Division II.
Since ICC Development and Cricket Operations Officer Nigel Mascarenhas wrote to UCA on November 20 revealing that Uganda’s bid had bettered that of Canada and Malaysia to host this year’s event, UCA are seizing every opportunity to make it count this time.
When ICC sent two of its officials Sean Norris (Security Manager) and Gurjit Singh (Development Events Manager) on a four-day working visit last week, UCA worked overtime to ensure the pair give a good review of Uganda when presenting the final reports to their bosses in Dubai, UAE.
UCA chairman Richard Mwami pulled the strings further by squeezing in a ‘priceless’ meeting between the ICC officials with the Minister of Sports and Education Janet Museveni at the State House in Nakasero last Friday.
The First Lady has now pumped up the volume in the cricket fraternity with a couple of tweets on her social media page to prove that UCA have government’s full backing to pull off a successful event.
“The ICC delegation was in the country to ascertain Uganda’s sustainability to host the WCL Tournament,” read one of her tweets.
The one that went viral goes: “We’re ready to host the ICC tournament and we want to see cricket in Uganda revived. Uganda can be banked on to host the tournament.” Prior to meeting Minister, Norris and Singh also met the Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, Assistant Inspector General of Police (IGP) Andrew Sorowen alongside several security firms and visited social amenities like Nakasero Hospital plus inspecting the three ovals; Entebbe, Kyambogo and Lugogo, where the tournament will be played.
And with the backing from the highest of hierarchies in Uganda, UCA will, now, not only be hoping to host an incident-free event but also look to successfully woo more sponsors on board to bolster the growth of the gentleman’s game here.
The upcoming tournament
Name: Division III ICC WCL
When: May 21-31, 2017
Venues: Lugogo, Kyambogo & Entebbe
Nations: USA, Canada, Oman, Malaysia, Singapore, Uganda
Benefit: Top two teams progress to ICC WCL Division II
2017 ICC WCL DIV III
Uganda: 5th 2015 ICC WCl Div 2
Canada: 6th 2015 ICC WCL Div 2
Malaysia: 3rd 2014 ICC WCL Div 3
Singapore: 4th 2014 ICC WCL Div 3
USA: 1st 2016 ICC WCL Div 4
Oman: 2nd 2016 ICC WCL Div 4
By Innocent Ndawula