Just a week ago, visa hitches had dashed the senior men’s national cricket team’s dream of participating in the Division III International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League (WCL) scheduled for April 28 – May 5 in Bermuda.
But after intervention of several parties to help the team secure both UK airside transit and Bermuda entry visas on Monday, there was an aura of renewed confidence as Team Uganda departed for the Caribbean island-nation yesterday.
With two slots at stake for the 2014 World Cup qualifier in New Zealand, Coach Martin Suji’s boys will have the impetus to push themselves to extreme limits after Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) attached a cash prize to the team’s campaign.
“We will dig deep in our confers and give you $20,000 (an estimated Shs51m) if you win the tournament and $15,000 (Shs39m) for a second-place finish,” UCA chairman Richard Mwami said during the team’s farewell dinner at Lugogo on Monday night. “We have done the best for you in terms of facilitating and preparing you for this tournament. Now go and make us proud.”
And as NCS general secretary Jasper Aligawesa flagged off the team yesterday, he re-echoed Mwami’s words. “You are our ambassadors and the past (visa troubles) should pump you up to do well and beat those strong teams.”
Vice-captain Frank Nsubuga was relishing the challenge ahead; “We have waited for two years and this is the time.
“Performing well in Bermuda is not only for our good but also for the entire cricket fraternity.”
April 28: Bermuda vs. Uganda (National Sports Stadium)
April 29: Nepal vs. Uganda (Somerset CC Oval)
May 1: Uganda vs. Italy (National Sports Stadium)
May 2: USA vs. Uganda (St. David’s Oval)
May 4: Uganda vs. Oman (Somerset CC Oval)
May 5: Playoff finals (National Sports Stadium)
TEAM TO BERMUDA
Players: Karashani (captain), Benjamin Musoke, Roger Mukasa, Lawrence Ssematimba, Frank Nsubuga (vice-captain), Brian Masaba, Arthur Kyobe, Charles Waiswa, Michael Ndiko, Deus Muhumuza, Henry Ssenyondo, Arthur Ziraba, Jonathan Ssebanja and Richard Okia. Coaches: Martin Suji, Steve Tikolo, Delegation head: Jackson Kavuma