Team Uganda will have its debut at the Africa Twenty20 Cup in South Africa but the trip to the Rainbow Nation is more than the honours there.
Coach Steve Tikolo’s side will have a 10-day stay in South Africa with the ICC World Cricket League Division Three due November 7-21 in Oman as the main picture.
“We are not letting the foot off the pedal,” skipper Roger Mukasa said after the flag-off by National Council of Sports officials General Secretary David Katende and Corporate Affairs Head Ismail Kigongo.
“Our big goal of the year is in Oman but the assignment in South Africa is equally important,” Mukasa said.
Uganda will bowl off in the Cricket South Africa-organised (CSA) event tomorrow in Pietermaritzburg. The Cricket Cranes’ biggest task lies here; they face provinces that include defending champions KwaZulu-Natal Inland, Easterns, Western Province and KwaZulu-Natal Coastal in the preliminary round due September 14-16. The tournament will be played in other coastal venues Oudtshoorn, East London and Paarl comprises a total 12 CSA Affiliates, three Associate Members and four more ICC Africa teams.
From the preliminaries, the top teams advance to the latter stage of the tournament set for September 23-24. “The preliminaries are tricky but especially with the defending champions in our pool but we have a brand of cricket that we would love to play,” Mukasa offered.
“Our batting is keeping its groove together however, the wickets in South Africa are flat and our bowlers must be aware of this. These are the same we are going to face in Oman hence we have to get it all right,” he added. After the Africa T20 Cup, Tikolo, who already connected from Nairobi to South Africa, will now embark of the longer format of the game with three 50-Over warm-up matches before the team returns home.
Here is where all reserve players Simon Ssesazi, Irfan Mohammed Afridi and Emmanuel Isaneez are set to have game time.
“We welcome every opportunity to play international cricket and it is going to be an invaluable boot camp.” noted Mukasa who expressed delight in the inclusion of youngster batsmen Zephaniah Arinaitwe in the main team and Ssesaazi.
Afcon u-17 Qualifiers
Sept 13: Team Arrives/Trains in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Sept 14: vs. KwaZulu-Natal Coastal, Pietermaritzburg Oval (10.30am)
Sept 14: vs. KwaZulu-Natal Inland, Varsity Oval (2.30pm)
Sept 15: vs. Easterns, Varsity Oval (2.30pm)
Sept 16: vs. Western Province, Pietermaritzburg Oval (10.30am)