Months of preparations including build-up matches in Dubai and Kenya seem destined to yield naught for the senior men’s Uganda cricket team after they were denied United Kingdom transit visas to travel to Bermuda for a global tournament.
The cricketers are scheduled to travel to Hamilton (Bermuda) next Tuesday to compete in the six-nation Pepsi International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League (WCL) Division III due April 28- May 5.
But those flickering hopes of contesting for a top-two finish which guarantees promotion to the ICC WCL Division II and a chance to stay on track for a coveted place in the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup are destined to hit rock bottom if something doesn’t give way.
Daily Monitor understands that Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) made applications for the transit visa on March 14 and the passports were meant to be returned on April 9 as per the British High Commission guideline that the visa is prepared in a period of 15 working days.
But a mere routine checkup with the Bermuda Immigration and Bermuda Cricket Board (BCB) left the UCA secretariat in Nakawa dumbfounded.
The association was notified, on Monday, by the BCB that their immigration could not process entry visas for the Ugandan contingent as the British High Commission office in Nairobi had not yet sanctioned the transit visas.
“It is true,” UCA CEO Justine Ligyalingi confirmed to this reporter.
“We haven’t yet received the visas. But we are following up the matter with our close friends and people that matter. We are still confident that we will be granted the necessary visas.”
The ICC, as per the norm, clearly states to any of its members due for an international tournament abroad that; “All boards are aware of their obligations in securing visas for their traveling parties to events and while the ICC assists in every way within our powers, ultimately the boards are responsible for this process in conjunction with the government or embassy of the host nation.”
But the Daily Monitor got wind that UCA had sought presidential adviser on media John Nagenda – also a former cricket captain, National Council of Sports general secretary Jasper Aligawesa, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Uganda and ICC office in Dubai to find a solution to the setback.
“The ICC is aware of the issue and is assisting the Uganda team apply for transit visas,” answered ICC’s Media and Communications Officer Bridget Rive when this paper sought a comment from her office yesterday.
The British High Commission office in Kampala was not available for a comment as their landline was not answered at regular intervals.
Players: Davis Arinaitwe 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. Officials: Martin Suji, Steve Tikolo, Andrew Othieno Delegation heads: Jackson Kavuma and Amos Brian Kyazze
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)