Coach Steve Tikolo Full Of Belief ‘Chosen Ones’ Will Deliver Qualification

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Coach Steve Tikolo and the Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) Selectors have named an exciting squad of 14 and two reserve players that will represent Uganda at the upcoming  ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Africa Final from May 17-25 in Kampala.

Tikolo, a legend of the game, believes the ‘Chosen Ones’ – are at the moment – the country’s best in this format (T20) and should be able to achieve the bare minimum – finishing among the top two nations that will progress to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier in United Arab Emirates (UAE) from October 11 to November 3, 2019.

There are four changes from the side that helped Uganda qualify from the East Africa Region Qualifier (Africa B event) at Gahanga International Stadium in Rwanda last year (July 5-15, 2018). Uganda finished runners-up to Kenya at the four-nation event to earn the right to play here.

Bowling all-rounders Irfan Afridi and Kenneth Waiswa alongside top order batsman Ronak Patel and opening bowler Bilal Hassun didn’t make the grade this time round for varying reasons and in their place are four players that have worked their socks off to secure their spots.

Seasoned campaigner Emmanuel Isaneez bounces back after some good time on the sidelines and stylish utility batsman Arnold Otwani continues to hold onto his berth since his Second Coming at the failed ICC World Cricket League (WCL) Division III mission in Oman (November 4-20) last year.

Diminutive young opener Zephaniah Arinaitwe, who has recently enjoyed short stints with the national team will make his first competitive ICC-event debut at the senior level after an illustrious career with the Baby Cricket Cranes (Under 19 side) whereas electrifying teenage all-rounder Rogers Olipa completes his remake from being just a bit-part player to one that can be trusted with matching-winning responsibility by his debut senior call.

“We have picked the best players that we believe will do the job for the country,” said Tikolo of the team that will be captained by inspirational Roger Mukasa. Leg-spinning all-rounder Brian Masaba maintains his mantle as vice captain.

Tikolo adds; “These guys have worked hard and earned the right to represent their country. They know their roles and what’s at stake. We as coaches have done our bit and hopefully the guys will execute the set game plans whilst being able to enjoy their individual games.”  

Skipper Mukasa sounded optimistic ahead of the six-nation event featuring Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria and hosts Uganda.  

“It is not going to be an easy tournament,” Mukasa told the media at the team unveiling. “But we know what to expect and are ready for the challenge. We disappointed our fans in 2017 when we didn’t do well here at home. But we promise better by playing smart cricket so as to finish among the top two nations. That is our main goal. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t want the trophy.”

The Most Valuable Player from Rwanda Riazat Ali Shah and Best Batsman Dinesh Nakrani are in the side alongside wily veteran spinner Frank Nsubuga who has been playing for the nation since 1994. The tournament will have a total of 15 games on a one-round robin basis in five-match days.

Players:

Roger Mukasa Captain, Arnold Otwani, Hamu Kayondo, Zephaniah Arinaitwe, Dinesh Nakrani, Riazat Ali Shah, Deus Muhumuza, Rogers Olipa, Charles Waiswa,  Frank Nsubuga, Emmanuel Isaneez, Henry Ssenyondo, Brian Masaba Vice-captain,  Fred Achelam

The Reserves: 

Jonathan Ssebanja, Simon Ssesazi

The Officials

Coach: Steve Tikolo Ogonji. Assistant Coach: Jackson Ogwang Oyuku

Performance Coach: Tim Kearsey. Data/Video Analyst: Alvin Bagaya Mboijana

Physiotherapist: Habiba Kulsum Anguyo Media Manager: Innocent M. Ndawula   

Team Manager: Jackson Kavuma

 ABOUT PARTICIPATING TEAMS

Botswana (Winners Africa ‘C’ Regional Qualifier)

Namibia (Runners-up Africa ‘C’ Regional Qualifier & Division II World Cricket League champs)

Ghana  (Winners Africa ‘A’ Regional Qualifier)

Nigeria (Runners-up Africa ‘A’ Regional Qualifier

Kenya (Winners Africa ‘B’ Regional Qualifier)

Uganda (Runners-up Africa ‘B’ Regional Qualifier)

TOURNAMENT ITINERARY

17 May 2019: Teams Arrival

18 May 2019: Official Practice, Captains Trophy Shoot & Tournament Meeting

TOURNAMENT FIXTURES

19 May 2019: Namibia vs. Botswana       9.30am, Lugogo

19 May 2019: Nigeria vs. Ghana             9.30am, Kyambogo

19 May 2019: Uganda vs. Kenya             1.50pm, Lugogo

20 May 2019: Ghana vs. Namibia            9.30am, Lugogo

20 May 2019: Kenya vs. Nigeria             9.30am, Kyambogo

20 May 2019: Uganda vs. Botswana       1.50pm, Lugogo

21 May 2019: Kenya vs. Ghana               9.30am, Lugogo

21 May 2019: Namibia vs. Uganda          9.30am, Kyambogo

21 May 2019: Botswana vs. Nigeria         1.50pm, Lugogo

22 May 2019: Reserve Day

23 May 2019: Nigeria vs. Namibia           9.30am, Lugogo

23 May 2019: Botswana vs. Kenya           9.30am, Kyambogo

23 May 2019: Uganda vs. Ghana              1.50pm, Lugogo

24 May 2019: Namibia vs. Kenya             9.30am, Lugogo

24 May 2019: Ghana vs. Botswana          9.30am, Kyambogo

24 May 2019: Nigeria vs. Uganda           1.50pm, Lugogo

25 May 2019: Teams Departure

*Top two teams will qualify for the ICC M

*Top two teams will qualify for the ICC M

By published on behalf of Innocent Ndawula