Laurence Mahatlane has arguably been the busiest national coach since his arrival in the country late last year.
The South African has taken to his work as national men’s cricket team coach with zeal, running two T20s and a pair of 50-Over matches at Lugogo.
The Cricket Cranes hadn’t had their steam following an empty 2020 due to the coronavirus but with eyes on the second round of the ICC Cricket World Cup Challenge League B in Jersey from September 1-14.
While it is still seven months away, Mahatlane and his technical team have picked a 26-man squad for a week’s camp at Santa Maria Health Resort in Entebbe.
“It’s been a while since we were together,” said Mahatlane’s assistant Jackson Ogwang.
“This camp is mainly to bond as a team and understand our values, mission and vision... to make the players value the badge and understand why they play for the Cranes.”
Camping and team bonding are norms in cricket, especially for the top 12 ICC Test cricket playing nations.
And with Mahatlane’s experience coupled with Covid-19 disruptions, Uganda Cricket Association wants to shore up this culture.
“We need to get out of this camp well knowing what we are as a team. It’s going to be the norm, where we get a retreat to have such,” team manager Jackson Kavuma said.
The selected players for the camp have impressed on the crease in Mahatlane’s eyes.
Most notably, former skipper Davis Karashani is back in the national fold for the first time since opting to retire after a 13-run defeat to USA at the bizarre ICC World Cricket League Division Three in 2017.
However, top-order batsmen Roger Mukasa, Zephaniah Arinaitwe and Robinson Obuya have not made the grade.
“We’ve held trial games. Zephaniah and Obuya are the unfortunate ones to miss out from a competitive batting group,” explained Ogwang.
“It gives them the opportunity to rethink their game and work harder. Besides, we’ll get back together after camp. For Mukasa, it’s because of work commitments.”
Kavuma said the Cranes will have warm-up matches before flying to Jersey.
The 26-man camp
Arnold Otwani, Emmanuel Hasahya, Simon Ssesazi, Hamu Kayondo, Perry Wazombe, Brian Masaba, Kenneth Waiswa, Frank Akankwasa, Fred Achelam, Steven Wabwose, Riazat Shah, Rogers Olipa, Frank Nsubuga, Henry Ssenyondo, Gerald Mubiru, Derrick Bakunzi, Siraje Nsubuga, Jonathan Ssebanja, Jonathan Kizza, Cosmas Kyewuta, Trevor Bukenya, Pascal Murungi, Saud Islam, Davis Karashani, Deus Muhumuza, Harsh Panchal