Emma Opio - It's Only Upwards From Here

Emma Opio - It's Only Upwards From Here

Emma Opio is lawyer by profession and a fairly new cricket fan. He joined us on this special edition of the Fine Leg show where we picked his thoughts on the national team’s performance in Oman and the way forward regarding the team and future of cricket in Uganda.

Emma, as an outsider, someone who’s outside looking in, you are keenly following the Cricket Cranes. What do you think could have caused the problem?

Well, first of all I thank the team for what they did. They did what they could there. It may not have been what we expected but we give kudos to them for doing that. I would say that it was really hurting that we did not achieve what we wanted to do. I believe personally that we are being very hard on the team, without actually getting the details that we are waiting for. And then it’s only when we get these details that you are able to have a quality discussion on the basis of where you want them to go.

Because at the moment, it’s all emotions. People are mad, disappointed and it’s acceptable,  But at the end of the day if you want to improve any sport or any business, you go in when you know the details – the devil is in the details, which is what we need to start looking at. Short of which, we are being emotional yet again, so until we do that, we are shooting clouds.

Fair enough. And from what you have heard from Innocent, do you get the feeling of what the team went through in Oman?

From what I have heard, I will say I have the team at heart but whatever he has shared (forgive my French) is bulls****. When he talked about mental ad aptitude and so on, come on in the sports world over you prepare for these things.

Uganda simply did not put up a showing. When that happened to Afridi, fine, yes it sucked but then man, you go up and put up your showing. Innocent pointed out that we could restrict them to scores that they could actually chase. What happened? We didn’t come to the party. For me that’s the problem right there.

We can use a lot of excuses to say the same thing, but at the end of the day we need to ask ourselves these questions; One, are we good enough to be where we are or where we want to be? The answer in my opinion is no. Two, is there a need to improve the quality that we have of Uganda cricket? Yes. I keep on having this discussion that actually, we have quantity but not quality. We have people playing Division One and Division two cricket, but when you look at the quality… Sometimes I am torn between watching and not watching it because it’s so predictable - it’s annoying. We need to focus more on quality, give up the excuses that we have, and change the mentality of how cricket is being run right now.

I do arbitral representation for some sports. And at the end of the day, they have a quality analysis of what happened and it propels results. You can’t just keep on your guesswork, on the same thing and expect results. It doesn’t work like that.

Someone said New Zealand is a nation with two million people but they are the No.1 rugby nation in the world and a test nation as well. They are one of the best nations in netball. So it’s not about numbers, but the quality in the numbers.

Exactly. It boils down to quality at the end of the day. There are so many stories out there.

Emma, as someone who is from the outside, what do you think we need to do to move this game further? Because we have been here and we are tired of being here…

Firstly, I appreciate what Adonia said about management marketing and for me that is the detail that needed to be discussed. I repeatedly challenge people, why do complain about the system yet you are the ones that make up that system or keep people in those offices? You guys make it seem like you don’t have the hand, yet of course you do. At the end of the day we are hurt but we are still going to play cricket, because we love the sport.

However, we need to look at the quality of the games that we play in the league. Personally as one who watches a game every Sunday, we need to improve on the quality. The details about Justine leaving and so in, those can be sorted by the management which is actually put in place by us and the club. So when we keep complaining I am thinking, ‘You guys, seriously?’ You know that we actually participate in putting them in office.

But we do not participate in them veering off course…

Yes, but there is a check mechanism. Every time you tell them you have to put them to account and this is wrong. If that fails then switch it up. We are not just saying, keep the crap. No one is looking for funding blah-blah. It is not a funding issue, in my opinion, it is a quality issue.

Your final word then.

At the end of the day we are down and so there is only one way we can go and that’s up. And the only way we can go up is by focusing on quality. Once you focus on quality and put in everything, we can list the number of things that need to be done. I am sure we just need to have a listening ear on the other side and then go up because cricket is going forward.