Part Two: Here is what managing expectations must really look like


What you need to know:

For starters, we should agree that the idea of Uganda being a world beater ever existed anywhere but in the minds of fans blinded by a mixture of egotism, arrogance, and denialism.

Last weekend, after confirming what we mostly already know, which is the debased status of Ugandan outfits and facilities as rank outsiders, your columnist detailed what managing expectations is not.

I promised a sequel in which it is hoped the Cricket Cranes will be an adequate vessel for showing how managing expectations should look like.

A brief recap, last weekend’s column only slightly more politely expressed the fact that we cannot clothe failing to get the basics right in a cloak of managing expectations.

As far as lame excuses go, the aforesaid takes a beating. Whereas it has proved to be a handy tool, a messy plot unravels fast when—as is the case in Uganda—its powers are retained almost in perpetuity.

It is more important to note that the managing expectations excuse fails at what it claims to do—pave the way for better performances by taking weight off one’s shoulders.

In chasing the small comforts of so-called low-hanging fruits, our sports representatives end up doing things that agitate tongues. I went to punishing lengths to demonstrate this argument last weekend.

I intend to dedicate this weekend’s space to articulate how best managing expectations looks like. I strongly believe it is an abdication of responsibility to normalise minoring in the minors.

Having less skin in the growth game succeeds in making sure that one plumbs the depths of self-destructiveness. This is never a place that anyone would want to plant their feet.

We should always challenge ourselves to do better. When we choose to be comfortable with half measures, black and white certainties will continue to be painted in shades of grey.

The black and white certainties are that, sporting-wise, save for a Joshua Cheptegei here and a Jacob Kiplimo there, we are—in many respects—a work in progress.

As for the shades of grey, when they (re)surface with boring regularity as they tend to do in Uganda, we end up seemingly locked in a state of arrested development.

Does this mean then that our sporting goals should be wildly ambitious in their scope and reach? Certainly not. It is difficult to think of a good reason why such a mindset should be adopted. This, however, should not preclude us from daring to be better, do better.

When the latter is followed to the letter, as indeed it should, this is precisely where the balancing act of managing expectations comes into play. Striking this delicate balance is no mean feat.

For starters, we should agree that the idea of Uganda being a world beater ever existed anywhere but in the minds of fans blinded by a mixture of egotism, arrogance, and denialism.

Cricket Cranes skipper Brian Masaba. PHOTO/COURTESY OF ICC MEDIA 

It is this toxic mixture that has some convinced that the Cricket Cranes have it within them to score upset wins over the big boys at next month's ICC Men's T20 World Cup.

Make no mistake, an upset is always a heartbeat away in T20 cricket (if you do the basics, that is).

So, by all means, our senior men's national team should approach assignments against the likes of hosts West Indies, New Zealand and even Afghanistan with a theological sense of conviction. David did after all bring Goliath down to his knees.

While nothing will please your columnist more than seeing Brian Masaba and his troops give as good as they get, I will not be terribly upset if things do not go our way. In a sense, this is a classic case of managing expectations. But there is a caveat.

I would instead rather the Cricket Cranes qualify for World Cup tournaments out of force of habit. It would not be until their third successive appearance that questions would be belligerently posed.

That, I believe, is how a learning curve should look like. The question then that we should be asking ourselves is if the system that the Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) is superintending over can actualise the goal of qualifying for back-to-back World Cup tournaments.

Namibia will not be resting on their laurels, and Zimbabwe will definitely spare no effort to ensure that lightning does not strike twice. Over to you, UCA.