Twenty20 is the latest and most watched across the three formats of cricket allover the world.
And Justine Ligyalingi, the chief executive officer of Uganda Cricket Association (UCA), is intent on making this year’s ICC Africa Division I Twenty20 Qualifying Tournament due February 22 - March 1 in Kampala memorable for everyone.
“It is going to be one big carnival,” said Ligyalingi during the official tournament launch at Oasis Restaurant in Lugogo yesterday.
“It’s going to be bigger and better both on and off the oval. Big hits will be cheered by queen dancers and blaring music. The atmosphere will be electric. T20 is all about entertainment and we won’t fall short.”
This tournament, in its second edition, will be without 2011 finalists Namibia. The southern Africans earned their place at next year’s Global Qualifier for the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 courtesy of their fourth-place finish at the same Associate nations meet two years ago.
But in the absence of the Namibia, holders and hosts Uganda will slug it out with favourites Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana and APL Division II winners Nigeria in a two-round robin format tournament.
The top two finishers in the tournament, which doubles as the Africa Premier League (APL), will join Namibia as the continent’s representatives in UAE.
During the launch, Pepsi joined Mehta Group, SMS Empire, Maad Advertising, Sanyu FM and Case Medical Center as the co-sponsors of the ICC sanctioned tournament.
“We are happy to work with UCA. They are not entangled in any bad press and this thrives us forward,” Timothy Luzinda, the Pepsi brand manager, said.
Luzinda said Pepsi’s offer, worth Shs20m, will cater for refreshments, inland transport for all teams and tournament logistics.
The Nigerian contingent arrives first this evening and will reside in Hotel Africana. They will have three friendly matches against local sides before they open their campaign against Uganda on February 23 in the afternoon at Lugogo.
Elsewhere, UCA will finally have a home after the body purchased 14 acres of land in Kisubi.
Two ovals, nets, dressing rooms and hostels will be erected on the new facility, according to UCA chairman Richard Mwami.