By Denis Musali
Match Day 1 Fixtures
Kenya v Namibia (10.30am EAT) Takashinga Sports Club
Zimbabwe v Mozambique (10.30am EAT) Old Harare Sports Club
Nigeria v Rwanda (2.50pm EAT) Takashinga Sports Club
Uganda v Sierra Leon (2.50pm EAT) Old Harare Sports Club
The lady cricket cranes arrived in Harare Friday afternoon and quickly checked into the Cresta Lodge Hotel as they relaxed ahead of their defence of their African title.
Today the team was able to get a feel of the Old Harare Sports Ground which will be the venue of their game tomorrow against the West African side of Sierra Leon.
Coaches Micheal Grace Ndiko and Habib Mugalula took the team through batting and bowling drills before cooling down with a nice fielding session. There are no team niggles or injuries in the camp with the team physio Habiba Kulusum currently just keeping the girls fresh.
At the media engagement for Captain’s Team Captain Kevin Awino mentioned that
‘’We are here as defending champions and we mean business, we have a well balanced side with 10 players who were in Namibia two years ago plus new upcoming blood. We learnt our lessons during the Victoria series and despite losing to Zimbabwe we have polished our mistakes and are good to go now”
Home side Zimbabwe is clearly keeping tabs on Team Uganda and their captain Mary Anne Musonda mentioned that
“We have since moved on given what happened to us in Namibia two years ago, none the less we are very weary of Uganda who denied us a shot at the world Cup. However, we beat them in their backyard in Kampala during the Victoria Series and now in our own back yard we are confident we shall come out tops”
Kenyan Captain Margaret Banja chose her words carefully about the political impasse back at home at the press conference as she said
“We are not affected by what happens in the office, we hope our good performance will bring about the change required for our politics to improve. We might have lost in the Victoria Series but that is now water under the bridge, we are going to surprise all by winning the trophy”.
There is a debut for Rwanda, Mozambique and Sierra Leon at the tournament with the lady cricket cranes taking on the West Africans but neither of the new comers is here to make up the numbers. The fast paced format of T20 cricket means that all teams have a chance but the side that does it basics well will be able to come out on top. Zimbabwe and Uganda might be the top seeds at the event but Tanzania, Kenya and Namibia have all been at this stage before are very capable sides.
Team Uganda will be looking for inspiration from 2018 Female Cricketer of the year Immaculate Nakisuyi whose ability to hit the ball far will come in handy at the back end of innings. The bowling is led by Joyce Mary Apio and she will share the new ball with Evelyn Anyipo, Consy Aweko with an economy rate of 2.4 in the Victoria Series will be the go to bowler for Kevin Awino and her spell could be the difference in big and small totals.
The game will be played in the afternoon at the Old Harare Sports Club, the afternoon sun should provide an amazing day for cricket.