Next week arguably the biggest sports story in the region will be taking place in Uganda when the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League (WCL) Division III League gets underway at Lugogo.
It has been a period of intense preparation for the new Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) executive and you can be sure a number of the individuals, who have been at the helm of the organisation, are finally glad the tournament is upon us.
Being a global competition, the demands of ICC are such that certain standards must be adhered to.
And by the end of the 10-day event, the lessons learnt from the time and money put in putting together the tournament will stand UCA in good stead. If ever there was a time to learn the sport of cricket, this is it.
It is not uncommon for many a genuine sports enthusiast to wonder about what exactly transpires on the oval in a game where padded men wear helmets.
Free for all
The ICC World Cricket League will be a free-for-all event. For as long as you can afford to spare time from your schedule, make it to Lugogo, Kyambogo or Entebbe for the games which will be played in the 50-over format. It would be ideal to come with a friend or two or three. It will be time well spent. Like birdies, eagles and bogeys sound for those who do not understand golf, terminologies like wickets, wides, and yorkers can feel like mandarin to a person who knows zilch on cricket.
Yet there will not be a better moment to free oneself from the bondage of not understanding cricket like at next week’s showpiece that will involve United States of America, Oman, Malaysia, Singapore, Canada and hosts Uganda.
Talking about Canada, their national team coach and chairman of selectors is Henry Osinde – born and bred in Uganda but now a naturalized citizen there.
Osinde, when he was a Ugandan, was an accomplished sportsman who shone as a volleyballer, basketballer and track and field athlete.
It is just as well that Canada are opening against Uganda in a game that will split Osinde’s loyalties.
Cricket in the cricket-mad countries like India, England and South Africa is more than a game; it is an outing for fans to let loose and enjoy sometime in the sunshine.
This tournament will be no different with amenities lined up to cater for fans, who will want to revel in the atmosphere of the competition.
More than 300 policemen from several security firms will be deployed across all three venues to guarantee the safety of fans, teams, officials and the grand occasion.
Lest we forget one of the reasons why Uganda lost out to Malaysia in 2014 for the right to host the event was security, which explains why UCA have left nothing to chance.
The beauty about sport is that games become attractive the more you understand and learn why for instance a bowler swings in this direction or why a batsman strikes the ball with a cheeky, scoop shot.
I am no cricket connoisseur but I will be right there to share what I know. The more numbers at the respective ovals will go some way in making a memorable global event.