Uganda’s senior National Cricket team, The Cricket Cranes, have been flagged off to Namibia ahead of bilateral series.
The team returns to action for the first time since Covid19 pandemic haltered sports activities in March last year.
Uganda last featured at the India-Qatar tour in January 2020.
The team leaves on Thursday and will play three T20 and two 50-over matches in Namibia before departure on April 9.
The team will be housed in a bubble and all games will be played under strict Covid19 guidelines.
Flagging off the team on Monday morning at Lugogo, NCS General Secretary Bernard Patrick Ogwel asked the players to remain disciplined throughout the games.
Cricket Cranes Head coach Laurence Mahatlane is excited about the tour
“It is an exciting tour as Namibia where we want to be. It will give us the opportunity to see where we are against an ODI team and what areas we still need to work on.”
A total of 36 National Trial Matches; (21 50-over Matches & 15 Twenty20s) have been played at Lugogo and Entebbe Cricket Oval. Aside being rigorous, they have also been equally exciting with a handful of them going down to the wire. UCA and coach Laurence Mahatlane also boosted the technical team with the inclusion of a Strength &
Conditioning coach in Helen Buteme and a new Uganda A coach in Lawrence Ssematimba as well as steering a process that has seen 24 players get contracts thus far.
Now UCA have stepped up the preparations a notch further by working their contacts to make certain Uganda’s Tour of Namibia from April 2-9 the Castle Lite Series. The bilateral series has five matches; three Twenty20 Internationals and two 50-over (Limited Over)
matches penciled in.
Both countries are preparing for challenging engagements in the next months with the Nambians just seven months away from their T20 World Cup campaign in India, while both countries are preparing for International Cricket Council (ICC) 2022 T20 World Cup qualifying, and are deep into 2023 World Cup pathways events. Uganda, who have a decisive outing to Jersey this September, are atop of the ICC World Cricket Challenge League B after winning five out five in Oman 2019. Another dominant show will leave them on the brink of playing One Day Internationals (ODIs).
A provisional squad of 19 players and seven officials enters the bio-bubble in Entebbe tomorrow soon after getting the mandatory Covid-19 Testing. There will be another testing on Wednesday before the final 14-man squad and 7 officials flies to Namibia on April 1.
The trip is fully funded by Uganda Cricket Association (UCA).
“I want to thank UCA for setting good plans for the National team, I have been briefed about this important tour, we hope that this series will give them a good test for the coming hurdles,” said Ogwel.
“I don’t have any doubt about the level of preparations and I just wish you all the success in Namibia. Please comply with the ICC Covid protocol. Discipline is paramount to success. Government will continue to support all Cricket activities.”
UCA CEO Martin Ondeko is the leader of delegation and revealed the importance of the trip.
He said: “After so many months without play, it feels very good to have a team ready to travel. It hasn’t been that easy, we commend NCS for giving us the Covid19 guidelines which we have followed to the dot and we haven’t registered any case.
“We are in a pathway to a big move, we are currently on top of our group and if we continue with our good form, we have a big chance to attain the ODI status.
“This is a ranking tour, we are ranked 31, not just a preparatory tourney. Its not a walk in the park. Namibia are a very good side. The fact that they accepted to play us shows that they are sure we will give them a big run for their money.”
The games will fine tune the Cricket Cranes ahead of the second round of the Challenge League in Jersey in September.
This will be the first competitive engagement for Cricket Cranes coach Laurence Mahatlane.
A provisional squad of 19 players and seven officials enter the bio-bubble in Entebbe on Tuesday where the final 14 will be selected after the results of Covid19 come through.
The team has had a total of 36 national trial matches played at Lugogo and Entebbe Cricket Oval.
The players had engagements last year in September in the Elite T20 League as well.
If selected, Gerald Mubiru, Emmanuel Hasahya and Cosmas Kyewuta will be making their Cranes debut. The trio are Uganda U19 graduates.
Simon Ssesazi, Hamu Kayondo and Jonathan Ssebanja return to the fold after missing the India-Qatar tour last year in January.
Cricket Cranes Provisional Squad – Frank Akankwasa, Gerard Mubiru, Trevor Bukenya, Jonathan Ssebanja, Frank Nsubuga, Simon Ssesazi, Ronak Patel, Fred Achelam, Kenneth Waiswa, Riazat Ali Sha, Cosmas Kyewuta, Dinesh Nakrani, Henry Ssenyondo, Emmanuel Hasahya, Arnold Otwani, Brian Masaba, Roger Mukasa, Saud Islam, Hamu Kayondo.
Uganda’s Tour To Namibia Schedule:
April 2 – Arrival in Widhoek
April 3 – T20 International
April 4 – Rest Day
10am: T20 International
2pm: T20 International
April 6 – Rest Day
April 7 – 50-over match
April 8 – 50-over match
April 9 – Departure