To many more in the cricket fraternity, finishing last at the ICC World Cup Qualifier in New Zealand had already sunk in.

But many were forced to take in deep breaths when the news broke that leg-spinner Raymond Otim and Faruk Ochimi did not make the return flight to Kampala on Friday. The pair, alongside lanky all-round batsman Richard Okia was not on the contingent that arrived aboard on the Fly Emirates Air Bus.

But Okia would return on Saturday having been caught up at the Duty Free shopping in Dubai transit. For Ochimi and Otim, who were nowhere to be seen when the team checked out of the Trinity Whalf Hotel in Tauranga at midday on Thursday.

This leaves the image of local Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) tainted further with the team having lost all their six competitive matches in the road to the 2015 ODI World Cup.

Team manager Andrew Othieno said: “Right now, we (UCA) are not worried about the duo since we left their passports at the immigration offices. We will only worry after February 7 (the date the players’ Visas expire).” “Otim and Ochimi were finalising their paper work and chasing deals with some local franchises in New Zealand ahead of the new season,” Uganda Cricket Association CEO Justine Ligyalingi, also head of the delegation, said.

The biggest number of players from New Zealand could not speak to Kawowo Sports about the missing Naguru-bred pair for fear of termination of their contracts with UCA. Close sources to the players indicate that the pair are in Whakatane town where Team Uganda was hosted for two pre-tournament matches early last month.

It is no surprise to the fraternity that 18-year-old Ochimi stayed back since he had vowed never to return home after he was named on the New Zealand-bound side in December. To add to this, reliable information states that global cricket body ICC had instructed to follow coach Johan Rudolph’s troops tooth and nail when rumours broke out that players were planning to escape.

For 27-year-old Otim, who is largely remembered for taking England captain Alaistar Cook’s catch at the 2004 ICC U-19 World Cup in Bangladesh, he was uncertain of the future owing to the fact that he’s been coach Johan Rudolph’s favourite, whose seven-month contract with UCA is unlikely to be renewed.

PLAYER PROFILES

Full name: Faruk Ochimi

Nickname: Chimzy, Nigga

Born: December 19, 1995, Naguru, Kampala

Major teams: Uganda, Nile Knights, U-19s

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm medium

Full name: Raymond Otim

Nickname: Bresnan

Born: October 21, 1986, Kampala, Uganda

Major teams: Uganda Under-19s

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Legbreak

The top Ugandan players at the ICC WC Qualifiers

Best Batsman Abram Mutyagaba – 130 runs in six innings

Roger Mukasa – 95 runs in four innings

Philemon Mukobe – 92 runs in six innings

Best Bowlers

Charles Waiswa – 10 wickets

Patrick Ochan – 6 wickets

Davis Karashani, Faruk Ochimi – 4 wickets

Best scores

Batting – Abram Mutyagaba (61 runs off 93 balls against Kenya)

Bowling – Charles Waiswa (4/30 against Namibia)

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