New dawn as desert challenge awaits Victoria Pearls

State minister for sports Peter Ogwang  hands the national flag to the Victoria Pearls' captain Janet Mbabazi at Lugogo. PHOTO/JOHN BATANUDDE 

What you need to know:

Seven years after serving as assistant captain, Mbabazi will face a new task at the helm of the Pearls’ camp and she is looking to make a pretty competitive start.

There wasn’t any ceremonial handover from Consy Aweko to Janet Mbabazi for the captaincy role of the senior national women’s cricket team.

However, by sports minister Hon. Peter Ogwang handing over Mbabazi the national flag to officially send off the Victoria Pearls to the ICC Women’s T20 Global World Cup Qualifier to Abu Dhabi, UAE, then the change of guard was complete in Lugogo on Thursday.

Seven years after serving as assistant captain, Mbabazi will face a new task at the helm of the Pearls’ camp and she is looking to make a pretty competitive start. 

“I would like to see and have a team that works together, and for each other,” said Mbabazi in an in-depth chat with this paper. Mbabazi received the flag, flanked by her new assistant Rita Musamali, former skippers Kevin Awino and Aweko herself. 

The Pearls are set to compete at this tournament with four matches against Scotland, USA, Thailand and Sri Lanka in Group A, all part of the quest for the tournament’s top-two slots to the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup set to be in Bangladesh due September.

“Cricket is a team sport that requires teamwork and maximum discipline. So I would like to encourage that culture as the captain,” she spoke, beaming with confidence.

“If I can see that in the players then that would be great. I want to ensure that everyone understands and is ready for their tasks, and also being able to lead by example.”

Uganda is back at this Global T20 Qualifier for the first since competing and finishing sixth at the 2018 edition in the Netherlands. This chapter in Abu Dhabi is relatively different, with the Pearls set to play two matches for the first time under the floodlights.

“We have worked on the grey areas from the African Games and we should make Ugandans proud at the Global Qualifiers,” noted assistant coach Deus Muhumuza.

Uganda missed out on a medal at the recent African Games and that will be the key motivator heading to the pretty difficult desert challenge in Abu Dhabi.

From Accra and previous tour of the Omtex Academy in India, head coach Lawrence Ssematimba and Muhumuza had made one change; Proscovia Alako returning in place of Immaculate Nandera.



Apr 21 (2pm): Uganda vs. Vanuatu, Mohan Oval

Apr 23 (2pm): Uganda vs. UAE, Tolerance Oval


Apr 25 (Night): Uganda vs. Scotland (Tolerance Oval)

Apr 27 (Day): Uganda vs. USA (ZCS)

Apr 29 (Night): Uganda vs. Thailand (Tolerance)

May 1 (Day): Uganda vs. Sri Lanka (ZCS)


Full Team: Janet Mbabazi (Captain), Rita Musamali (Vice Captain), Consy Aweko, Kevin Awino, Stephanie Nampiina, Immaculate Nakisuyi, Evelyn Anyipo, Sarah Akiteng, Phionah Khulume, Proscovia Alako, Gloria Obukor, Esther Iloku, Lorna Anyait, Malissa Ariokot, Sarah Walaza

Officials: Lawrence Ssematimba (Head Coach), Deus Muhumuza (Assistant Coach), Imam Tugume (Physiotherapist), Sachin Jagapta (S&C), Richard Okia (Analyst), Edgar Kazibwe (Psychologist), Denis Musali (Media Manager), Mary Nankinga (Team Manager), Rita Tinka (Head of Delegation)