ENTEBBE- The red carpet was literally rolled out for the Lady Cricket Cranes on their return from the International Cricket Council (ICC) Africa Women’s Twenty20 World Cup Qualifier in Windhoek, Namibia on Monday evening.
The new-look national women’s cricket team, a student-packed side, stunned the cricketing world into silence when they outsmarted higher-ranked nations Kenya and Zimbabwe to grab the continent’s lone ticket to the global qualifier.
The date for final global qualifying event that will include two ICC Full Members Bangladesh and Ireland plus the trio of Papua New Guinea, Scotland and Netherlands that earned the right to play at this event as ICC regional winners from East Asia Pacific, Europe and Americas respectively.
And after emerging as winners for the Africa region, Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) and National Council of Sports (NCS) partnered to give the new ‘African Queens’ a homecoming fitting of heroines.
There was pomp filled around the event as the media sashayed the airport in droves. There was also a police lead car to ensure that the gridlock along Entebbe Road – which is synonymous on days when children are reporting back to school as was the case – didn’t dim the good mood surrounding the team. First stop was at Café Javas – Kisementi, Kamwokya where NCS served up a late-lunch delight and urged the ‘young girls’ not to rest on their laurels.
Game of skill
“This is the beginning of a long journey,” said David Katende Ssemakula, the NCS assistant general secretary, as the team and UCA officials, feasted on the several sumptuous dishes each had ordered.
“You must not stop the hard work. Many of those teams looked at you and undermined you because of your size and age.
“But you have showed that cricket is not a game of power and size, it is all about skill. And continue showing the passion.”
Katende re-echoed his earlier promise and said that the government is ready to come out and help not only the team but also UCA in their preparations for future tournaments and development of the game.
“The government has money to fund sports. And such performances only help the cause to ensure the monies come through quickly. UCA has shown good levels of organization and we urge you players to keep up the winning mentality.”
Captain Kevin Awino summed the evening of merry-making by handing over the champions trophy to Katende and UCA chairman Bashir ‘Badu’ Ansasiira as the rest of the teammantes joined in for handshakes with NCS officials with their gold medals emblazoned around their necks.
ICC AFRICA WOMEN’S T20 WC QUALIFIER
Uganda’s Collated Results Final
Zimbabwe 99/7 Uganda 100/7
Uganda won by 3 wickets