2017 will be a year to forget for senior men national side and the U19 boys team. Both sides failed on the global stage with the U19s left with the greatest heart break.
The senior men finished a disappointing 5th at home during the Division 3 World Cricket League getting demoted to Division 4 in the process. Uganda as hosts were expected at worst stay in Division 3 or at best gain promotion to Division 2, however, Oman and Canada had other ideas gaining promotion to Division 2, with USA and Singapore staying in Division 3 while Uganda and Malaysia dropping down to Division 4. Since 2001, Uganda has been in Division 3 and gained promotion to Division 2 in 2015. Division 4 is a new low for Uganda Cricket and the prayer is that this isn’t going to be a downward trend for the senior side.
The U19 boys chocked on the final day of the event missing out on a World Cup berth to hosts Kenya in a bizarre game. After averaging more than 25o runs per game before the final game the junior side folded for 66 all out in a game Kenya played with calculators. The hosts got through because a superior net run rate leaving the travelling Ugandan fans heart broken. Both sides are handled by Kenyan coaches Steve Tikolo and Francis Otieno and UCA showed that they seek continuity by sticking with both of them.
Locally, Damani won the league on their first attempt, dethroning Tornado Bee who had won it 4 times in a row. Nile and Partidar went down to Division 2 while Premier and Strikers are on their way up. Jinja SSS drops to Division 3 from Division 2 with Kampala Pirates taking their place in Division 2.
The highlight for the local league has got to be Kutchi Tigers who finished the second round unbeaten. They were aided by the night cricket entourage that played for them in those games defeating everyone in their way. If they had only had a better first round they would have be crowned champions but none the less they finished a season high in 3rd.
We spoke to the cricket community to find out who stood out this season both locally and internationally.
Abu Mayanja Buddo Cricket Club Captain and die hard England Fan
Joshua Mwanja stood out for me locally. Joshua Mwanja rode back the years as his runs propelled his team (Kampala Pirates) to Division 2.
National Team has to be Afridi (Irfan). Afridi scored Uganda’s only century at the Division 3 World Cricket League and was the only bright star to come out of the ill fated tournament.
Davis Karashani National team Captain and KICC Player
Zephaniah (Katungi) and Waiswa Kenneth led a great U19 campaign which is the same as Irfan Afridi in the World Cricket League, plus Shazhad (Kamal) and Henry Senyondo for me during the Kenya series.
Arnold Byarugaba Buddo Cricket Club Vice Captain
International has to be Irfan Afridi and Deus Muhumuza, in the local league I would go with those 2 plus Emmanuel Isaanez.
Afridi came into the national team as an outcast (could have been his debut at ICC event) and many had doubts but he turned out be a revelation. True Character.
My focus again in the ICC World Cricket League, Baby (Deus Muhumuza) had to fight to earn his place in that team as he had been relegated but his fighting spirit and never die attitude have seen him save the day for his club many times this season and made a statement at the national team, He is reliable!
Alvin Bagaya former player turned Pundit
People who stood out were Afridi, Henry Ssenyondo, Zephaniah Katungi, Kenneth Waiswa and Shahzad and Perry Wazombe (Strikers).
There are many young players littered in the big teams but none has stood out this season and could be a case of under utilization in their clubs because as a group they have always done well.
National team captain Davis Karashani puts blames on everyone including himself who hasn’t done enough to help the young boys learn proper skills.
I personally worry a lot about the youngster work ethic & mindset it’s a massive worry. I remember spending every day of my vacations in the nets. On my end, I feel I have failed as an individual to get to try sit these guys down have a genuine word with them hear what they honestly think and share what I personally think.
There is a lot on the menu for the players locally and internationally next season. There is the Division 4 global qualifiers, Africa T20 World Cup Qualifiers plus who will be moving to where.