Olila Cricket Club pair of Lorna Anyait and Malissa Ariokot will have a chance to make their senior debuts for the Victoria Pearls (Uganda senior women’s cricket team) at the 9th edition of the Kwibuka T20 Tournament scheduled for June 10th to 16th in Kigali, Rwanda.
The other new player on the team is U-19 Captain Jimia Mohammad who made her senior debut last year on the tour to Namibia but returns to the side with Gloria Obukor, Sarah Akiteng, and Esther Iloku making way for her and the debutants. The changes are mostly enforced to give the youngsters international exposure at the tournament.
Anyait and Ariokot were both part of the U-19 girls team last year and the duo who are both 16 years old and are students of Olila High School in Soroti are eager to get going with the senior team after impressing the selectors at such a young age.
“I feel so happy! It has been my dream to play for the national team and I never thought I would make it to the senior team at this age of mine,” youngster Anyait said during the team flag-off on Thursday at Lugogo Sports Complex in Kampala adding that; “training with senior players has made me learn new things. I don’t feel any kind of pressure because I believe in myself. I will do my best at the tournament in order to retain my place on the team.”
Just like Anyait, Ariokot too is filled with emotions with the competitive senior debut around the corner and she has vowed to leave an impression.
“I feel so happy to the point that I can’t express myself fully! I’m so glad that I’m one of the players selected to be part of the team. Training with senior players was fun and I picked many lessons from them. I’ll play my best in Rwanda and I believe this will help me get called up for future tournaments.”
Team Captain Consy Aweko is happy to have young players in the team adding that it’s a sign that the game is growing across the country basing on the fact that the duo are from the club based in Eastern Uganda.
“I welcome them with a lot of love and I believe that with humility they will learn the game from us,” Aweko said adding that she’s happy that the U-19 Captain Jimia Mohammad is back to the senior team, an opportunity for her to mentor the junior team skipper
“When they go back to their team (U-19) they will be able to show what they have learnt from this side. Tomorrow they will be out perfect replacements when we move out of the game,” Aweko added.
The Victoria Pearls will be seeking a third Kwibuka title as they settle in Kigali for the annual Women’s meet. The Victoria Pearls have won back-to-back international tournaments that include the Victoria Series in Kampala and the Capricorn Eagles Series in Namibia.
The Victoria Pearls have won the Kwibuka tournament twice (2014& 2016). The tournament will have four other nations which include hosts Rwanda, Nigeria, Botswana, and Kenya. Uganda is the highest ranked team in the tournament at 19th in the World which makes them the favorites for the tournament. Kwibuka record winners Kenya are ranked 23rd, hosts Rwanda 26th, Nigeria 29th and Botswana 41st. This will be the sixth time Uganda has been at the Kwibuka tournament since its inception.
The tournament will have T20 international status. The teams will play a single round robin with the top two sides meeting in the final. The games will be played at the iconic Gahanga Cricket Oval and at the IPRC ground.
The action will be available on a live stream on the Rwanda Cricket Association website.
The Final 14: Consy Aweko (Captain), Janet Mbabazi, Phiona Khulume, Kevin Awino, Irene Alumo, Proscovia Alako, Patricia Malemikia, Immaculate Nakisuyi, Stephanie Nampiina, Evelyn Anyipo, Rita Musamali, Malisa Ariokot, Lorna Anyait, Jimia Mohammad.
Officials: Lawrence Ssematimba (Head Coach), Lawrence Ssempijja (Assistant Coach), Tugume Imam (Physiotherapist), Edgar Kazibwe (Pshychologist), Deus Muhumuza (Analyst), Denis Musali (Media Manager), Mary Nakinga (Team Manager).