Visa restrictions hinder Baby Cricket Cranes’ preps

Solid. The Uganda U19 Boys Cricket National team after sealing a place at next year’s ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup.   Photo / Eddie Chicco

What you need to know:

  • UCA selectors led by Nehal Bibodi in tandem with coaches Ivan Thawithemwira and assistant Robinson Turinawe have maintained the squad which won the regional qualifier in Rwanda in early October with side off-spinning all-rounder Edwin Nuwagaba as the only new comer.

Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) is hoping their final squad of 15 players will deliver a performance worthy of pride at next month’s ICC Under-19 Boys’ World Cup.

UCA selectors led by Nehal Bibodi in tandem with coaches Ivan Thawithemwira and assistant Robinson Turinawe have maintained the squad which won the regional qualifier in Rwanda in early October with side off-spinning all-rounder Edwin Nuwagaba as the only new comer.

Nuwagaba is Cricket Cranes’ batsman Zephaniah Arinaitwe’s younger brother. 
Thawi and Turinawe have further maintained Pascal Murungi as captain with Ismail Munir also keeping the assistant captain’s role before they face Ireland, 2014 winners South Africa and four-time champions India in Group B from January 15-22.

But what informed the decision ahead of Uganda’s third appearance at this global showpiece? “We have tried to be consistent with the selection to give more opportunity to the group we were with in Rwanda,” stated Thawi.

“We felt it was the best team to represent us at the tournament and better our previous performance at the same level,” said UCA CEO Martin Ondeko.
The team core is made up of vital all-rounders like Murungi, Ronald Lutaaya, Munir, Joseph Baguma, Cyrus Kakuru and Ronald Opio. 

“The team’s strength is the strong discipline as well as the individual and important contribution from different players,” noted Turinawe.
Before the final squad was announced, UCA kept about 25 players in a camp with drills in Entebbe, Lugogo and Kyambogo since the start of November.

This was contrary to the earlier planned two-week tour to Sanjay Farm and another week at the Omtex Academy in India. Thereafter, a short trip to Sri Lanka had been in plan too.

“There were changes in the visa application process for India. Unfortunately all the visa categories we applied for were denied,” noted team manager Sylvester Rokani. This paper understands that only three individuals met the criteria.

With less than a month left, UCA is intent on a better performance in the Caribbean than 14th place which the Baby Cricket Cranes got at the editions of Bangladesh 2004 and Sri Lanka 2006.

“We are working on core and mental strengthening, conditioning, skill perfection and team bonding,” added Turinawe. The team departs on New Year’s Day.

ICC UNDER-19 CRICKET WC

UGANDA’S FIXTURES
WARM-UPS

Jan 10: TBC     vs.     Uganda, 
Everest (Guyana)
GROUP B MATCHES
Jan 15: Ireland     vs.     Uganda, 
Everest
Jan 18: South Africa vs.     Uganda, 
Queen’s Park Oval (T&T)
Jan 22: India     vs.     Uganda, 
Brian Lara Ground (T&T)

BABY CRICKET CRANES SQUAD TO WORLD CUP:
Pascal Murungi 
(Captain), Ismail
Munir (VC), Akram
Nsubuga, Christopher
Kidega, PiusOloka,
Joseph Baguma, 
Matthew Musinguzi, 
Ronald Omara, Cyrus
Kakuru, Brian Asaba,
Isaac Sanyu Ategeka,
Ronald Opio, Ronald
Lutaaya, Edwin
Nuwagaba, Juma 
Miyagi

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