By Innocent Ndawula
unday 19 May
9:30am: Botswana vs Namibia
1:50pm: Kenya vs Uganda
9:30am: Nigeria vs Ghana
9:30am: Nigeria vs Ghana
Every team will be looking to avoid taking their eyes off the prize when the upcoming International Cricket Council (ICC) Men’s Twenty20 World Cup Africa Final bowls off tomorrow (May 19) in Kampala.
Six teams are in the mix and every game will be a virtual final with just two slots at stake to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier in United Arab Emirates (UAE) from October 11 to November 3 later this year.
It will be ‘Migingo Derby’ up first for Uganda when they lock horns with Kenya at Lugogo Oval on Sunday, May 19 at 1.50pm. Kenya always have Uganda’s number in big ICC tournaments but if the regional qualifier held at Gahanga Stadium last July is anything to go by then the Cricket Cranes will fancy their chances of getting one over their neighbouring foes. Although Kenya won the tournament, Uganda did manage to defeat them in the last game of the showpiece thanks to Dinesh Nakrani’s hot blade that fetched him an unbeaten century of 102 runs off 50 balls as the Cricket Cranes registered a massive seven-wicket victory with seven balls to spare.
Potential banana skins
Uganda’s undoing was the loss to Tanzania in the preliminary round. Uganda set 155 for 8 but terrific team effort and final flourish from Zamayoni Ramadhani Jaboneke (32* off 12 & 3 for 28 in 4) upstaged Uganda by six wickets with five balls remaining.
And coach Steve Tikolo and his men will be wary of any slip-ups as the tournament has many giant slayers and potential banana skins. Botswana already proved that they will be a handful when they defeated highly rated Namibia in Southern Africa’s regional qualifier. The two representatives from West Africa; Ghana and Nigeria will want to show their newfound status as the continent’s fast-rising sides by claiming a scalp or two here in Africa. Uganda wraps up its campaign against Simon Ateak’s Ghana on May 24 at Lugogo.
That’s how delicately poised the tournament is; every team will want to do their business in clinical fashion. Tikolo named an exciting squad of 14 and two reserve players.
There are four changes from the side that helped Uganda qualify from the East Africa Region Qualifier (Africa B event) at Gahanga International Stadium in Rwanda last year (July 5-15, 2018). Bowling all-rounders Irfan Afridi and Kenneth Waiswa alongside top order batsman Ronak Patel and opening bowler Bilal Hassun didn’t make the grade this time round for varying reasons.
In their place is seasoned campaigner Emmanuel Isaneez bounces back after some good time on the sidelines and stylish utility batsman Arnold Otwani continues to hold onto his berth since his Second Coming at the failed ICC World Cricket League (WCL) Division III mission in Oman (November 4-20) last year. Diminutive young opener Zephaniah Arinaitwe, who has recently enjoyed short stints with the national team will make his first competitive ICC-event debut at the senior level after an illustrious career with the Baby Cricket Cranes (Under 19 side) whereas electrifying teenage all-rounder Rogers Olipa completes his remake from being just a bit-part player to one that can be trusted with matching-winning responsibility by his debut senior call.
“We have picked the best players that we believe will do the job for the country,” said Tikolo of the team that will be captained by inspirational Roger Mukasa. Leg-spinning all-rounder Brian Masaba maintains his mantle as vice-captain.
Tikolo adds; “These guys have worked hard and earned the right to represent their country. They know their roles and what’s at stake. We as coaches have done our bit and hopefully the guys will execute the set game plans whilst being able to enjoy their individual games.”
Skipper Mukasa sounded optimistic ahead of the six-nation event. “It is not going to be an easy tournament,” declared Mukasa. “But we know what to expect and are ready for the challenge. We disappointed our fans in 2017 when we didn’t do well here at home. But we promise better by playing smart cricket so as to finish among the top two nations. That is our main goal. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t want the trophy.”
The MVP from Rwanda Riazat Ali Shah and Best Batsman Nakrani are in the side alongside wily veteran spinner Frank Nsubuga who has been playing for the nation since 1994. The tournament will have a total of 15 games on a one-round robin basis in five-match days.
The event schedule shows that the tournament will have 15 games; on a one-round robin basis in five-match days with one rest/reserve day.
THE FULL SQUADS
Players: Roger Mukasa Captain, Arnold Otwani, Hamu Kayondo, Zephaniah Arinaitwe, Dinesh Nakrani, Riazat Ali Shah, Deus Muhumuza, Rogers Olipa, Charles Waiswa, Frank Nsubuga, Emmanuel Isaneez, Henry Ssenyondo, Brian Masaba Vice-captain, Fred Achelam
The Reserves: Jonathan Ssebanja, Simon Ssesazi
Coach: Steve Tikolo Ogonji. Assistant Coach: Jackson Ogwang Oyuku
Conditioning Coach: Tim Kearsey. Data/Video Analyst: Alvin Bagaya Mboijana
Physiotherapist: Habiba Kulsum Anguyo Team Manager: Jackson Kavuma.
Karabo Mothlanka (capt), Thatayaone Tshose, Adithya Rangaswamy, Tshepo Phaswana, Tharindu Perera, Mmoloki Mooketsi, Karabo Modise, Mohmednabil Master, Inzimamul Master, Vinoo Balakrishnan, Dhruv Maisuria, James Moses, Reginald Nehonde, Zain Abassi
Isaac Aboagye (capt), Julius Mensah, Godfred Bakiweyem, Simon Ateak, Kofi Bagabena, Vincent Ateak, James Vifah, David Ankrah, Frank Baaleri, Rexford Bakum, Michael Aboagye, Abdulai Mohammed, Daniel Anefie, Gallage Perera
Shem Ngoche (capt), Irfan Karim, Alex Auma, Dhiren Gondaria, Rakep Patel, Collins Obuya, Nelson Odhiambo, Sachin Bhudia, Lucas Ndandason, Eugene Odhiambo, Elijah Asoyo, Jasraj Kundi, Pushpak Kerai, Rushabvardhan Patel
Gerhard Erasmus (capt), Stephen Baard, James Bredenkamp, Jan-Izak de Villiers, Jan Frylinck, Zane Green, Zhivago Groenewald, Karl Birkenstock, Tangeni Lungameni, Bernard Scholtz, Johannes Smit, Christoffel Viljoen, Daniel van Schoor, Helao ya France
Ademola Onikoyi (capt), Chimezie Onwuzulike, Joshua Ayannaike, Ovais Yousuf, Daniel Ajekun, Isaac Okpe, Sylvester Okpe, Adeleke Oyede, Abdul Mohammed, Isaac Danladi, Vincent Adewoye, Chima Akuchukwu, Abiodun Abioye, Rasheed Abolarin
ABOUT PARTICIPATING TEAMS
Ghana (Winners Africa ‘A’ Regional Qualifier)
Nigeria (Runners-up Africa ‘A’ Regional Qualifier
Kenya (Winners Africa ‘B’ Regional Qualifier)
Uganda (Runners-up Africa ‘B’ Regional Qualifier)
Botswana (Winners Africa ‘C’ Regional Qualifier)
Namibia (Runners-up Africa ‘C’ Regional Qualifier & Division II World Cricket League champions)
*Top two teams will qualify for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier 2019