Steve Tikolo Credit: AISHA NAKATO

Kenyan legend Steven Tikolo ended his three and a half rein as Cricket Cranes head coach and its very likely he will be replaced with another foreign coach.

During his charge, Tikolo was assisted by two local coaches – Jackson Ogwang and Micheal Ndiko – but with Ogwang spending more time with him than the latter.

During this period, Ogwang had an internship in South Africa with the creme de la creme South African coaches another step forward for him.

However, local cricket coaches continue to be overlooked for the main job. The last local Cricket Cranes coach was Sam Walusimbi who was in charge of the team in 2007 when they featured at the Division 4 tournament which they won in Darwin, Australia.

The progression of the Cricket Cranes at the international stage meant that the team became an attraction for foreign coaches.

In 2008, Barney Mohammed took charge of the team with the roles later shared by other South Africans as Peter Kirsten and Johan Rudolph with Martin Sujji in charge in between the two.

Francis Othieno also took charge of the Lady Cricket Cranes for two years a period during which they were crowned African Champions in 2017.

There has been a growing pool of local coaches with Davis Turinamwe and Henry Oketcho both qualified Level 3 Coaches while Habib Mugalula has been to the ICC High-Performance Center in South Africa for training.

Ivan Kakande spent a month as an apprentice in Sri Lanka, Mike Ndiko attended a high-performance training in Namibia, Emmanuel Isaneez and Jackson Ogwang spent a month at the ICC Academy learning from the best. The capacity and numbers are growing locally but how come none has been trusted with the top job?

A former Cricket Cranes player who preferred anonymity argues that local coaches are unable to influence the performance of players.

“The issue with local coaches for me has been their inability to influence the performance of players. Coaches need to have the ability to improve players so that they raise their game to suit international standards but sometimes players remain the same.

“Barney and Shukri, for example, were very strict when it came to performance and standards mostly because they came from professional setups and expected the same from us. I feel it’s no doubt we had a lot of success we had with them,” he says.

“Also, foreign coaches are kind of strict when it comes to discipline, they never entertained excuses. If you were late for a session or practice match you would know the punishment. However, some of our local coaches tend to have a laid back approach to sessions that have failed to raise the standard of the team,” he adds.

The former Cricket Cranes star is however positive that more international cricket will give local coaches opportunities to earn fast.

“However, as we continue to play more international cricket, the exposure is a chance for our local coaches to learn fast so that they are ready to take up the opportunity.”

Another person who has been part of the Cricket Cranes in the past noted that local coaches lack professionalism and barely draw respect from players.

“The challenge with local coaches is the professionalism required for the job. The role of the head coach needs someone who has played at the highest level, for example, the Kenyans played at the World Cup and the South Africans come from a structured setup.

“Our local players also don’t respect local coaches which makes delivery difficult for them and therefore it becomes easy to work with foreign coaches. Plus our local coaches apart from Davis Turinawe who is a Level 3 coach the rest lack qualifications and giving them the role will just be throwing them in the deep end,” he says.

While it would be ideal to have a local coach especially for commercial reasons, the scales don’t tip in their favour in terms of skill requirement.

The challenge therefore for local coaches is to raise their skills with the association helping identifying opportunities for them to expose themselves.

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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  1. Local coaches have a branding issue. The players know too much about them. We know their bad habits and very uninteresting escapades. That takes a lot away from them as regards ability to set good example.
    If anyone wants to take the mantle as a local, they should build their brand as early as possible. Let them be known as that player that does all things right, keeps time, not a drunk, etc. Them player look up to him.
    In addition to that, there is too much familiarity in the fraternity. A lot of players are self-made and they see these coaches self-make too, sharing in the difficulties of lack of talent growth and management systems. It’s had for a man with whom you struggled in the trenches, whose weaknesses you know very well, who was merely favoured by friends to become coach, to ever teach you nothing.

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