Uganda U-19 boys national cricket team (Baby Cricket Cranes) squad for the U-19 World Cup Qualifiers has six players who were part of the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup in the West Indies last year. The team was flagged off on Thursday at Lugogo Sports Complex in Kampala.
Team Captain Fahad Mutagana, Pius Oloka, Joseph Baguma, Brian Asaba, Ronald Omara, and Yunus Sowobi are the sextet who played at the last year’s global meet and are still part of the junior set-up.
The African qualifier scheduled for 22nd to 31st July 2023 in the Swahili coastal city of Dar es Salaam has two venues, that is; the University of Dar es Salaam and Dar es Salaam Gymkhana Club.
The Baby Cricket Cranes have been training under the guidance of Head Coach Emmanuel Isaneez and his Assistant Head Coach Robinson Turinawe. The team had a 10-day training camp in India at the Sanjay Farm as part of their preparations for the qualifiers. The final 16 squad has spent the last seven days in a residential camp in Entebbe.
With Uganda’s squad comprising of a sextet with global experience, Isaneez believes that his side will not be looking for experience and motivation elsewhere as the six players will seek to guide the rest to the 2024 U-19 World Cup that will be held in Sri Lanka.
“The six players who have been at the World Cup before have blended in with experience and they share with others who are new. They try to give them a brief understanding of big tournaments (for this case a global qualifier) which helps us the coaches to decentralize the coaching system within the team,” Isaneez said.
However Isaneez has warned the sextet not to be complacent because it doesn’t matter who played at the previous World Cup but what matters most is how adaptive the team will be at the tournament (global qualifier).
“The new guys are also exciting and we expect a lot from them. A guy like Gerald Olipa is an exciting batsman (opening batsman) and we expect a lot from the new gang,” Isaneez noted adding that overall the team has prepared very well for the tournament and they are capable of coming atop in Tanzania. “We had trips and camps in preparation for the tournament and now we have no excuses but to deliver.”
Only one team will make a cut to the World Cup from the Dar es Salaam event which will be played on round-robin format.
Uganda will be seeking a consecutive World Cup appearance after making its third U-19 World Cup appearance in the West Indies in 2022. Uganda has been to the World Cup in 2004, 2006, and 2022 and success in Tanzania will be their fourth appearance. The 2024 U-19 World Cup will be held in Sri Lanka.
Six teams that include hosts Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria, Namibia, Sierra Leone, and Kenya will be battling for one slot in the World Cup. Uganda will open its campaign against a tricky Namibia and finish the campaign against Sierra Leone.
The team will travel to Dar es Salaam onboard Uganda Airlines on Friday 21st/07/2023 and will play their 1st game on Sunday 23rd/07/2023.
The Final 14: Fahad Mutagana ©, Pius Oloka, Ronald Omara, Yunusi Sowobi, Musa Majid, Nyero Jonathan, Gerald Olipa, Balidawa Ali, Joseph Baguma, Brian Asaba, Conrad Lubwama, Abdul Aziz Tandia, Jaffar Ochaya, Anas Baig
Officials: Emmanuel Isaneez (Head Coach), Robinson Turinawe (Assistant Coach), Habiba Klusum (Physiotherapist), Richard Okia (Team Analyst), Rokani Sylvester (Team Manager)
Tournament fixture schedule for Uganda
23/07/2023 – 9:30 a.m.
Uganda vs Namibia @Gymkhana
25/07/2023 – 9:30 a.m.
Uganda vs Nigeria @UDSM
26/07/2023 – 9:30 a.m.
Uganda vs Tanzania @Gymkhana
Kenya vs Uganda @Gymkhana
29/07/2023 9:30 a.m.
Uganda v Sierra Leone @Gymkhana