Akankwasa hopes to make mother proud

Running To Safety. Former Under 19 captain Frank Akankwasa runs to complete a pair of runs for Uganda against Kenya during the Pearl of Africa Series at Entebbe Cricket Oval in September last year. PHOTO / EDDIE CHICCO

What you need to know:

  • Raised in the low-scale suburb of Naguru, he first tried the gentleman’s game before his teenage years when his brother Borris Aguma lured him to Lugogo in 2008.

Unlike many others, family has never gotten into Frank Akankwasa’s way of playing cricket.

Raised in the low-scale suburb of Naguru, he first tried the gentleman’s game before his teenage years when his brother Borris Aguma lured him to Lugogo in 2008.

 “He told me to come to Lugogo, to throw balls for Joe, one of the guys was sponsoring the Charity Trust Fund club at the time, and I would be paid 5000 Shillings per day,” Akankwasa recalls.

 “So I would come everyday onwards and make that money,” he memoirs, during a chat after one of the recent senior national men’s team training sessions.

Big break

Now almost one-and-a-half decades later, the youngster nicknamed ‘Danger’ is one of the latest breakthroughs for the Cricket Cranes in coach Laurence Mahatlane’s era.

 He was last month named as part of a 14-man team set to compete during the ICC World Cup Challenge League B round II which bowls off next week in Kampala. The all-rounder first attempted joining the senior team during the Saudi Arabia tour of Uganda in 2018 after exploits in the Under 19 team. But it all stalled later after Tour of Qatar in 2019. “It’s not easy to join the national team as you know everyone wants to represent their country,” he said, “So, it takes a lot of determination and hard work to join the team and discipline of course.”  After completing senior six I had school at Kololo Secondary School, the coronavirus pandemic slowed his progress but he stayed focused and the patience, as Mahatlane arrived from South Africa, has since paid off.

 “I just kept on working out, keeping fit. I used to do fitness almost every single day.” So what did you do right to make it to Mahatlane’s team? “Hard work, potential and ability, the things I do on the field,” he notes.

Playing the gentleman’s game has turned out to be his life changer. After school, Akankwasa has found it difficult to continue with tertiary education.

Fending for family

 “It has been very difficult because I come from a poor family where you have to put food on the table so it’s hard to balance the two,” Akankwasa emotionally stated.

 However, his performances earned him a new one-year contract with Cricket Cranes with which he supports his family, moreso his mother.

 By playing the List A matches against Bermuda, Jersey, Kenya, Hong Kong and Italy in Lugogo and Kyambogo, Akankwasa hopes to impress his bosses and furthermore his mother.

 “Yes it’s a big tournament for the country and good of all it’s at home and some of the games are gonna be at Lugogo where I started my career.

 “Of course, I would want to perform for the team and make sure we qualify. I want my mom to come and watch. Yes there’s that pressure of wanting to perform but like they say pressure is a privilege,” he adds.  The contract with Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) has already changed his life and Akankwasa hopes that by next year when he’s more settled, he can then proceed to study graphics and animation.

At glance

Full Name: Frank Akankwasa

Nickname: ‘AK’, ‘Danger’

Date of birth: June 22, 2000

Jersey Number: 33

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Off-break

Best batting total: 150

Best bowling figures: 5/10 National team debut: 2019, Uganda’s Tour of Qatar

Cricket Idol: AB de Villiers

Favourite Food: Meat

Dream Holiday destination: Toronto, Canada