Masaba, Miyaji earn golden rewards

Standing Out. Young Miyaji (R) receives his golden bat from Everest CC's Satyendra Khemraj alias Samaba at Pegasus Suites in Guyana earlier this week. PHOTO/INNOCENT NDAWULA

What you need to know:

Guileless. In a world where dreams are often chased in the glare of stadium lights, Cricket Cranes players found their golden moment in the embrace of unexpected generosity, proving that sometimes, the greatest rewards come not from victory on the pitch, but from the kindness of new admirers.

Ugandan cricket stars found themselves showered with golden rewards during their ongoing World Cup sojourn, basking in the warmth of appreciation in a far-flung corner of the world. Hosted graciously by the Everest Cricket Club, nestled in the heart of Guyana, the players found themselves amidst West Indies Test Stars, mingling and sharing stories over sumptuous dinners, twice during the 10-day stay in Georgetown where they won one and lost two of their Group C fixtures.

At one such lavish affair, promises were made, and promises were kept, thanks to the generosity of Everest member, Satyendra Khemraj, affectionately known as Samaba.

Showing the way

Owner of the esteemed Doctors Clinic in Georgetown, Samaba pledged incentives, including gleaming gold pendants, worth 14 currants, to motivate the visiting team. True to his word, he presented a golden bat to Juma Miyaji, the standout performer with the willow, and a striking bat and ball necklace to captain Brian Masaba, for his heroics with the ball thus far.

Miyaji's gallant efforts on the field, despite a challenging match against the West Indies, were recognised with the golden bat. The 21-year-old boasts of an average of 26 from the two innings he has batted thus far and it was his partnership of 35 with Riazat Ali Shah (33) that got Uganda over the line for a slim three-wicket win over Papua New Guinea – their first-ever T20I World Cup triumph at their maiden appearance.

Masaba's bowling brilliance, clinching five wickets across three matches; two apiece against West Indies and Afghanistan, earned him a glittering tribute.

“I promised and I have delivered,” declared Khemraj as he bid farewell to Team Uganda as they prepared to move camp to Trinidad & Tobago, his words resonating with sincerity as observed by his unwillingness to disclose the cost of evidently pricey prizes. His parting advice echoed a sentiment of perseverance and dedication, urging the players to continue their relentless pursuit of excellence.

Message of hope

“I would have loved to give something to each of you but maybe I will do so next year. We plan to come and tour Uganda and play some games next February. My advice to each of you is to continue working hard. Actually put in extra work. You are all talented but have a long way to go if you're to make it to the big stage. Your chance to shine will come, if you harness your skill.”

In a gesture of gratitude, Khemraj also honoured Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) Secretary Jackson Kavuma with an Amazon Warriors cap and also gifted a golden Jaguar tooth – the national animal of the Caribbean nation – to impressive paceman Cosmas Kyewuta symbolising the bond forged between cricketing nations.

As the Ugandan players departed, hearts aglow with gratitude, they carried with them not just gold, but the unwavering belief in their potential to conquer the cricketing world.