ICC Media Release
With an outstanding junior development programme and growing interest in the sport, qualification for the ICC Cricket World Cup could transform the popularity of the game and help Uganda step up to higher levels in international cricket in the future.
Led by an excellent coach, Ebrahim Mohamed from South Africa, Uganda will be one of the outsiders for this event but it has shown that it is very capable of competing against higher-ranked teams.
It defeated Kenya by two wickets in the Kenya Twenty20 Quadrangular tournament held in Nairobi last year and also put in a spirited performance against Bangladesh as it lost by just 21 runs.
However, the qualification period for the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier showed that it still has a long way to go if it can expect to consistently challenge the leading Associate nations. Captain Junior Kwebiha says if Uganda can finish in the top six of the 12-team event, he would be happy.
'One of the things that is very important to us is to get ODI status and if we get in the top six we will achieve that,' said Kwebiha.
'I am not saying we won't be trying to get into the top four and qualify for the World Cup – we fully intend to do that – but to get into the top six would be a very big achievement for us and that is where we are putting our focus,' he said.
Uganda won the inaugural Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 3 tournament in May 2007, gaining promotion to Division 2, with a half-century and four wickets from Frank Nsubuga vital to the team's success in the final against Argentina.
But it didn't fare as well a few months later in Namibia, recording just a single victory in the competition, once again over Argentina. Although the margins of victory weren't huge, it lost close matches against Oman (by three wickets, with just one over to spare), and Denmark (by 21 runs) and was comfortably beaten by Namibia.
Back in Division 3, this time in Buenos Aires in January 2009, it recorded excellent victories over Afghanistan and Hong Kong, with the latter being one of the greatest matches seen in the history of the competition as a dramatic final over victory drew comparisons to Australia's semi-final game against South Africa at the ICC Cricket World Cup in 1999.
A defeat to Papua New Guinea (PNG) and an early batting collapse against Argentina, in a match that was eventually replayed due to bad weather causing the abandonment of the first game, were both causes for concern, but it secured second place and progressed to the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier by virtue of a better net run rate than PNG.
'We have taken a good look at what happened in Buenos Aires. Despite coming second there are quite a lot of things from that tournament that we have to work on! We know that a lot of the future development of cricket in Uganda is going to depend on our performance in South Africa so it is very important to us.
'Coming through the divisions, Afghanistan and ourselves are going to have to work harder because we haven't been exposed to this level of cricket as often as the others in the tournament. We know it's not going to be a walk in the park as some of the teams have professional players in the teams.
'We just have to take it a step at a time and see how it goes from there. There is an element of surprise I suppose in that the other teams will not know too much about us but then we haven't played against them either so we are going to be just as surprised as they are. It only takes one good ball to get a batsman out and as bowlers we know we just have to put the ball in the right areas.
'We don't see ourselves as underdogs really. We don't approach events in that way. We know what our abilities are, we know what our strengths are and we will just go out there and play our own game. We are trying to get into the culture of going out there and taking control of games and playing to our strengths.'
Uganda: Junior Kwebiha (captain), Joel Olweny, Benjamin Musoke, Roger Mukasa, Lawrence Ssematimba, Kenneth Kamyuka, Frank Nsubuga, Asadu Seiga, Arthur Kyobe, Charles Waiswa, Nehal Bibodi, Davis Arinaitwe, Akbar Baig, Nandi Kishore, Ronald Ssemanda.