Kampala. There is no doubt that Uganda will take a cautious approach even if they are hosts when the ICC Africa Men’s Twenty20 Cup takes centre stage later this month.
The ‘once beaten, twice shy’ saying is firmly abound in the minds of Uganda’s camp and that could have had a foundation in coach Steve Tikolo naming his final 14-man team for the May 17-25 showpiece.
With the aid of well-proportioned below-par shows, Uganda suffered shock regelation on home soil at the ICC World Cricket League (WCL) Division Three in May 2017.
The recovery has been tedious for the Cricket Cranes with trips to Rwanda, South Africa, India, Qatar, Malaysia and Oman for the side to face their own again.
“We have given the team exposure in the last six months,” acknowledged Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) chairman Bashir Ansasira.
Following months of work, Tikolo has made six changes from the 2017 side to the one that will hope to find solace in the hearts of the nation imminently. “It wasn’t easy to come up with these names,” said the Kenyan tactician before unveiling his squad by presenting black jackets with the UCA crest on the left in front of the press at Lugogo Oval yesterday morning.
“We looked at the combinations we wanted to go with and that’s how we came up with the team. Our preparations are still going on. The team will do well,” assured Tikolo.
Teenage all-rounder Rogers Olipa is the surprise selection who has made the grade for the showpiece where Uganda will vie against Botswana, new ODI member Namibia, Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya for the coveted top two places to the ICC Global T20 Qualifier slated for October 11 - November 3 in UAE.
Olipa who has been described as ‘electrifying’ will have his ICC senior competitive debut with sensational opener Zephaniah Arinaitwe. Seasoned pace bowler Emmanuel Isaneez is off the reserves’ bench after a three-year wait and will now feature for Uganda for the first time since 2009.
Wicket-keeper Fred Achelam has returned to the side having missed the ICC WCL Division Three in Oman last November.
Skipper Roger Mukasa is keen on mending the hearts that were broken two years ago. “The tournament is not going to be easy,” Mukasa said in a commanding tone.
“We disappointed our fans in 2017 when we didn’t do well here at home. But we promise better by playing smart cricket. Our plan is to be among the top two to qualify for the next stage. But it doesn’t mean we don’t want to be champions.”
1. Roger Mukasa (Captain)
2. Arnold Otwani
3. Hamu Kayondo
4. Zephaniah Arinaitw
5. Dinesh Nakrani
6.Riazat Ali Shah
7. Deus Muhumuza
9. Charles Waiswa
10. Frank Nsubuga 11. Emmanuel Isaneez,
12. Henry Ssenyondo
13. Brian Masaba (Vice-captain)
14. Fred Achelam
1. Jonathan Ssebanja
2. Simon Ssesazi
“The tournament is not going to be easy. But we know what’s at stake and we are ready for the challenge. We disappointed our fans in 2017 when we didn’t do well here at home. But we promise better by playing smart cricket. Our plan is to be among the top two to qualify for the next stage. But it doesn’t mean we don’t want to be champions.” ROGER MUKASA, UGANDA CAPTAIN, WHO WAS FLANKED BY HIS DAUGHTER
ICC AFRICA MEN’S T20 CUP
May 17: Teams Arrival
May 18: Official Practice,
Captains Trophy Shoot &
May 19: Uganda vs. Kenya
May 20: Uganda vs. Botswana
May 21: Namibia vs. Uganda
May 23: Uganda vs. Ghana
May 24: Nigeria vs. Uganda