Kenneth Kamyuka
Kenneth Kamyuka

Hate him or love him, Kenneth Kamyuka was a character who could never be ignored. He was never kind to lazy individuals and if you showed that you never cared about a game he loved so much, you didn’t deserve to play this game.

My first encounter with ‘Myuks’ as he was popularly known in Mwiri, was in my Senior One and he was in Senior Five. Butiki was visiting for a cricket friendly game on a Wednesday afternoon we ran out of an Agriculture test paper to watch him score 99. Then later, he coached us between 2003 and 2004 to two Schools Cricket Week titles. During that time, he nicknamed Deus Muhumuza ‘baby’ as he purposely chose him as youngster on the team, a name that has stuck till to date.

Kamyuka was passionate about cricket and the game was good to him. He has managed to represent both Uganda and Canada at the highest level. He was very opinionated and hated politics with passion.

Blessed with good pace and fine hands, Kamyuka was a complete all rounder and when I put it to him about his place in Ugandan cricket, he didn’t mince his words by declaring he is the greatest.

Uganda’s loss was Canada’s gain when he left Uganda to try his luck elsewhere, his main reason was he felt unappreciated by the powers that were.

He locally played for JACC, Destroyers, Nile, Wanderers, Tornado B. He had a pro stint with Lenasia in South Africa and Branstown Masters in Canada. He bowed out the only way Kenny would as a winner with his team in 2015, and since then he lives quietly in Canada.

He has not ruled out coaching Uganda when the time is right. When I asked for a scoop, he gladly accepted and here is the full interview.

Question: Your birth nation recently got relegated to Division 4, in a tournament your adopted nation Canada got promoted. What can Uganda Cricket learn from Canada to stop this slide down the divisions?

Ans: Never stop trying, Uganda has to find away of getting at least 5 players to play out of the Ugandan domestic cricket, try different countries which gives them a lot exposure, learning different conditions, try and keep the same set of guys who participated in the last tournament to bond and before the next tournament have them playing really strong teams losing to a better side is better than beating weak sides u get to learn and share the experience!

Question: Taking you back a little, what made you swap Uganda Cricket for Canada?

Ans:  The administration failed to listen to the players demands, I was players representative so didn’t want be part of the mess any more, the decisions being made were so political. Actually me and politics don’t really get along so well.

Question: Getting to finally play for Canada was it everything you wanted/expected?

Ans:  Playing for Canada was no big deal to me. I had been named in the ICC Associate best 12 players in 2001 which includes teams like Ireland, Namibia and as I was waiting for my PR Card in Canada in 2015 ICC named me in the top 50 Associate Players – that’s 6 years without representing any country, so I never had doubts in my ability to execute. I always aimed higher… IPL, World Cup would have been my highest goal, not only showing up to participate but make mark, it’s sad didn’t happen life goes on.

Kenneth Kamyuka

Question: A little further back when your star was shinning for team Uganda, what memory stands out while playing for Uganda?

Ans:  Well, lots but the Australian Tour in Darwin under Kibuka Musoke is one of them, Walusimbi was coach. Then, the 100 not out off 54 balls at number 10 in 2001. Argentina Tour in 2005, where I was man of series got 5 Man of Match out of 5 games. The Irish Tour where Uganda were 11 for 5 wickets and I came in scored 126 not chasing, 220 we lost by 5 runs was still Man of match, just to mention but a few those stand out.

Question: Jury is still out on who between yourself and Sam Walusimbi is the greatest cricketer Uganda has produced. How does it feel to be held in such high regard?

Ans: I didn’t see much of Sam (Walusimbi) but the little I saw he was a great cricketer, but because of what I did am yet to see any Ugandan cricketer do it Sam inclusive.

Just a hint of what I can remember, my 100 not out at number 10 will stand for ever. Argentina man of series 5 out 5 will take a long time. Locally picking up 10 wickets in a single ODI game, batting under pressure my whole career let’s say 11 for 5 wickets and making 126 not out vs. Oman.

The Darwin Tour where we moved from 3rd Division to 2nd. We collapsed from 70 for no loss to 101 for 7 chasing 220 and batted 47 not out with the last wicket to qualify, winning our first 3 day game in Namibia ending up with 7 wickets in 39 overs for less than 70 runs. First African and only to be player of the series in the Canadian League, breaking an ODI record picking a wicket on first ball Canada vs. Holland ending up with 4 wickets on debut and man match on debut of an ODI just to mention but a few, not mentioning what I did in Uganda and Lenasia.

I consider myself the best cricketer Uganda has ever had!

Question: Who are some of the best guys you have played with in your cricketing career right through school, club cricket and national team?

Ans: I think Guy Kimbowa, Sam Walusimbi, Komakech (wicket keeper) Nehal Bibodi were out standing!

Question: Any regrets in your career?

Ans: Career wise my biggest regret was moving to Canada, but for life style best place to live in the world.

Question: Uganda has been stuck in Division 3 and now relegated to Division 4, what do you think we need to do to be able to match the likes of Canada and Oman?

Ans: You shouldn’t be looking at Canada as a team to learn from set your bar a little higher, because I was following the tournament and I saw them lose to Malaysia and Singapore.

So learning from teams like Ireland and Afghanistan would be ideal, find out from them what they did to turn it around in my view like I said before get some of your players to play in different leagues, good plans, strategy for the team, hard work, focus. Try and keep the same guys all the time so the blend, have small victories with in your challenges keep learning, above all be passionate about the sport.

Execution and consistency in tournaments is crucial it’s a not a league it’s just 5 innings tops!

Question: Your mate Henry Osinde is now coach of the Canadian national team. Have you given thought to being a coach sometime? And if so would you come and help Uganda pass on your skills?

Ans: Well, that’s good for Henry what really matters most if he’s enjoying what he’s doing.

If you are to remember am no stranger to coaching since 2001 with Busoga College Mwiri winning championships with a team that had previously lost and all the cream of the best players were gone in Kimbowas era, and my time. I think u were part of it we didn’t go in as favorites but ended up winning.

My last 2 years I coached and captained my club we actually over achieved beyond our expectations, it was like the Jacc of 1998 calling shots on the Wanderers and KICC of then. I will be one of a kind coach that would love to help Uganda because I will bring my own brand of cricket and I can use me as a case study in trying to pass on the skills kind of coach who will ask for a years contract and if I don’t achieve I will fire my self unlike the 99 percent coaches world wide who are coaching and the same time practicing politics, I won’t be the type.

I would love to coach and bat number 8 as well but looking at the timing won’t be any time soon as am soon taking on a huge project where I will be involved 24/7 and it’s my next passion.

Question: In your playing days you were very vocal in defending players rights but now when things are better the players haven’t raised their game to fit international standards?

Ans: It’s been answered above good about the allowances it’s a basic minimum any ways, so you get them exposed in different countries, different playing conditions, have the right strategy and game plans, get a core of 5 to 6 players playing together all the time so they blend, and let them have specific roles which the must execute the more u practice and visualize at something the more u get better!

Question: Now that you gave up playing,what are you up to in your retirement?

Ans: I am enjoying life, site seeing when a get a chance travel the world with my girlfriend, meet a few good friends here too and we are working on something special soon, hopefully all goes well I will own my own business here in Canada and not that the money means a lot to me but I want to help out as much as possible back home especially in my village in Kamuli. I want them to realize that making it in life is actually on them once there’s opportunities, am afraid they don’t have the opportunities so I will provide those expecting nothing in return, so am scalling up for now if u don’t know what that means it involves people strategy execution and cash more like being your own boss, I feel for them and street kids because I was one of them and I know how it feels being desperate!

Question: Who had the biggest influence in your cricket career?

Ans: Well, I think in school Benjamin Musoke, he always encouraged. As I scaled up there was coach in South Africa called Hussie Munack, we didn’t get along but he’s the best coach I played under he was coach player too he’s now a South African selector he never flinched or back flipped on any thing he said, I always admired the way guy Kimbowa played he’s cricket very very tough cricketer!

Question: Give us your ideal Uganda XI with yourself in it, preferably in batting order.

Ans:  I can give you an all time Best XI with what I saw in batting order. 1. Paul Nsibuka 2. Roger Mukasa 3. Yona Wakapabhulo 4. Nehal Bibodi 5. Guy Kimbowa 6. Sam Walusimbi 7. Komackech (wicket keeper) 8. Kenny 9. Franco Nsubuga 10. Henry Osinde 11. Lumumba and best manager for the team Sam Sewagude, UCA Chairman William Kibuuka Musoke coach and captain shared experience between Kenny, Guy and Sam Walusimbi. Zero politics, a hint to politics is equal to immediate termination

Question: Finally if Uganda Cricket asked for your would you respond positively to their request?

Ans: Of course I would if time allows I have always been passionate about Uganda cricket will always wish them well
And yes of course Justine Ligyalingi in school was a huge influence. He would be on my selectors committee.

Denis has represented Uganda in international cricket events including the World Cup. He is currently the captain of Wanderers Cricket Club.

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