Boys Schools Cricket Week 2019 - Makerere College Back, Can Mwiri Win 18th Crown?

Boys Schools Cricket Week 2019 - Makerere College Back, Can Mwiri Win 18th Crown?

By Denis Musali 

PAST WINNERS SINCE 1986

1986 - Busoga College Mwiri

1987 - Jinja Senior Secondary School

1988 – King’s College Budo

1989 - Busoga College Mwiri

1990 - Makerere College School

1991 - Kololo High School

1992 - Kololo High School

1993 - Busoga College Mwiri

1994 - Busoga College Mwiri

1995 - Busoga College Mwiri

1996 - Busoga College Mwiri

1997 - Busoga College Mwiri

1998 - Busoga College Mwiri

1999 - Busoga College Mwiri

2000 - Busoga College Mwiri

2001 – King’s College Budo

2002 - Jinja Senior Secondary School

2003 - Busoga College Mwiri

2004 - Busoga College Mwiri

2005 - Busoga College Mwiri

2006 - Kololo Secondary School

2007 - Kololo Secondary School

2008 - Kololo Secondary School

2009 - Busoga College Mwiri

2010 - Kololo Secondary School

2011 - Kololo Secondary School

2012 – Kololo Secondary School

2013 - Mukono Parents School

2014 – Kololo SS & B.C Mwiri (shared)

2015 - Busoga College Mwiri

2016 - Mukono Parents School

2017 - Jinja Senior Secondary School

2018 - Busoga College Mwiri

The 2019 edition of the Boys’ Schools Cricket Week will see the return of Makerere College School.

Macos, as the school is commonly referred to, is back courtesy of an olive branch extended to them by Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) as hosts of the annual national secondary schools cricket finals competition.

But Makerere College School deserve their spot in every right because they’re one of the four pioneer institutions of the Schools Cricket Week (SCW) whose initial format started in 1939 as a quadrangular with King’s College Budo, Busoga College Mwiri and Nyakasura School the other three teams in the fray.

In the history of the Schools Cricket Week, Makerere College made a name as the ‘Home of Schools Cricket Week’ since every edition was literally hosted at the university campus-located school until recent years when the game quietly fazed out of the school curriculum.

Allure of Macos

Macos’ proximity the cricket grounds without a doubt makes them the most ideal host plus the Wandegeya nightlife (Bermuda Triangle as it was known back then) was also a thing for students to enjoy after a long day of chasing leather in searing  conditions.

The unavoidable problems of being an urban school caught up with Makerere College School as the cricket facility got dilapidated hence the game going into a slough.

Over the year, the school has produced some of the best talents in Uganda Cricket that have represented the nation at several under-age categories; U-15, U-17 and U-19 plus the senior Cricket Cranes side.

Arguably one of the greatest-ever batsmen Yona Wapakhabulo (RIP), hard-hitter Walter Komakech, Marco Lutaaya, blood brothers Fred Isabirye & Charles Waiswa, Arthur Kyobe, Daniel Ruyange, Emmanuel Nakaana, Innocent Ndawula, Geoffrey Sserunkuma, Madhish Patel, Emmanuel Taban, Abraham Alema, Phillip Kahuma, Solomon Kahuma, Cossy Mukasa, Martin Muyomba, Thaha Syed, Arnold Ssuuna, Dr Hillary Kuteesa and former Lady Cricket Cranes internationals and managers Diana Musiime and Lydia Namirimo Bakumpe have all gone through Makerere College.

 ‘Dead and Buried’, Macos are ‘Back From Hell’, courtesy of UCA’s wildcard and will be looking to grab their second chance with both hands.

Favourites

Defending champions and record 17-time winners Busoga College Mwiri will start as favourites. Despite losing some of the 2018 title-winning team, they’re still a very capable side. The problem of Mwiri has been a failure to groom cricketers relying on students from other schools but since the turn of the year, Mwiri has made a genuine effort to introduce the game to juniors which should serve them well in future. Ronald Opio will have to bear the run-scoring burden with Collins Okwalinga tasked with taking wickets.

 

St John’s Mukono is another team that should be a threat, they have a big crop of new national U-19 stars some of whom will be fresh from Nairobi for the Star Field Tournament.

Their strength is their ability to rely on one another considering they have played together for a long time. They lost to Mwiri in last year’s final and they will be hoping that this time they can go all the way.

Mukono Parents School is another school that should count themselves as semifinal candidates. They will be led by U-19 stars Juma Miyagi and Simon Okecho. Mukono has won the national title twice in 2013 and 2016 and such a reputation makes them dangerous opponents as they know how good it feels to be a champion – something they will want to relive. 

Dark Horses

Nyakasura School lost a generation that should have won them the Schools Cricket Week but in Pascal Murungi and Joseph Baguma they have talent that can hurt any team. While in the past Nyakasura was always content with the freebies offered by the organisers, the mindset changed when they started playing in the league three years ago. They play with purpose and hunger to achieve. They will be no pushovers. 

Jinja SSS just like Nyakasura lost a handful of players after they finished their ‘A’ Level but coach Habibu Mugalula has never failed to produce talent on any given day and he will surely have a formula to get the best out of his troops irrespective of their skill levels.

Masaka SSS has not quite dominated the boys’ game as they have done with the girls’ version. But they continue to show signs of closing the gap on their more historical rivals. The lack of competition in their region also inhibits their ability to test their skills before coming to Kampala but if coach Yusuf Nanga, also the reigning UCA Coach of the Year, has done his homework well, his tactical nous should inspire his side into the knockouts stage, at least.

Ranked Outsiders

Ndejje SSS and Ntare School have been guilty of showing no desire to win the Cricket Week despite having a rich history. Both are traditional cricket powerhouses that nurtured fine cricketers in the late 90s and early 2000’s but that history is lost on the current generation. This edition should offer them some revival and hopefully make them dare to dream differently in future.

Teso College Aloet will do the most mileage to play in the coveted national championship and although they’re limited by resources, they will not be in Kampala to make up numbers. They will be fierce competitors and are sure deal candidates to spring a surprise or two. The region is guaranteed to produce contenders in a few years to come, if their current development programme is anything to go by.

Seven-time champions Kololo SSS have fallen off the radar in recent years with their last piece of silverware coming in 2014 when they shared the trophy with Mwiri after a washed out final at Lugogo. While they continue to produce the talent, most of it is wooed away to greener pastures – thus other schools.

This year the tournament has grown to 14 schools that came through the respective regional qualification process; Ntare School and Nyakasura School (Western Region), Jinja Senior Secondary School, Busoga High School, Kira College Butiki and Busoga College Mwiri (Eastern Region), Masaka Senior Secondary School (South Western Region), King’s College Budo, Mukono Parents School, Kololo Senior Secondary School, Kyambogo College School, and St John High School (Central Region) and Teso College Aloet (Soroti Region). Makerere College take up the 14th slot courtesy of being hosts.