Uganda must forge forward without Akankwasa, Otwani

Otwani raises hit bat. PHOTO/COURTSEY 

What you need to know:

Big Year. It has been a big year for the Cricket Cranes who have somewhat earned recognition on the international scene that culminated into being crowned African champions last September in S. Africa.

Opening batsman Arnold Otwani and all-rounder Frank Akankwasa have been integral members of the senior men’s national cricket team set-up since South African coach Laurence Mahatlane took over the reins in November 2020.

But the dynamic duo have somewhat been amiss and Daily Monitor has learnt that the enterprising players stayed back in the United Kingdom at the end of the third leg of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Cricket World Cup Challenge League B.

The event was hosted on the backdrop of Uganda hosting an exciting second leg in Kampala during which the Cricket Cranes lost their first two matches but bounced back in stellar fashion to win the next three duels including a 7-wicket triumph over ‘noisy neighbours’ Kenya at Lugogo on June 26.

As Otwani missed out on ICC T20 World Cup Global Qualifier, Akankwasa made the cut for the Bulawayo event and was part of the side that huffed and puffed in equal measure enroute a fifth-place finish at the event won by hosts Zimbabwe.

From Zimbabwe, the Cricket Cranes headed to the United Kingdom and Otwani had done enough to prove he was the best man for the opener’s role in the absence of injured captain Brian Masaba and out-of-form Roger Mukasa.

Otwani ensured Uganda stay interested in finishing atop the log and progress to the 2023 World Cup playoff stage - only for Net Run Rate to rear its ugly head and foil everything.

Big performers

The former captain was the master accumulator, finishing as the top runs scorer for Uganda with two centuries, including one in the warm-up match against Jersey and two 50s (Jersey & Bermuda).

On the last day, he constructed his highest international score with a sharp knock of 129 runs off 127 balls comprising nine boundaries and four sixes.

Akankwasa, a former Uganda U-19 captain & skipper of Uganda ‘A’, only played two games coming off the bench in a 14-man squad littered with quality.

He showed value for money with a career-best five-wicket haul (5/19) to compliment his unbeaten 15 as Uganda obliterated Bermuda by 153 runs and then snared 2 for 9 in the emphatic 218-run win over Hong Kong.

But both were a no-show as Uganda won the inaugural Africa Cricket Association (ACA) T20 Africa Cup in South Africa last September.

They have also been missing furniture as Uganda prepare for the revived East African Cup scheduled for December 13-24 in Rwanda - only for a close source to confirm they’re still in the United Kingdom with valid visas.


Full Name: Arnold Otwani

Nickname(s): Nabz/O. T

Date of Birth: September 19, 1995

Playing Role: Batsman

Batting Style: Right-hand bat

Also: Wicket-keeper

Jersey No: 16

Dream Destination: Honolulu Hawaii, USA



Full Name: Frank Akankwasa

Nickname(s): AK/Danger

Date of Birth: December 22, 2001

Playing Role: Batting all-rounder

Batting Style: Right-hand bat

Bowling Style: Right-arm off-break

Jersey No: 33

Dream Destination: Toronto, Canada