- Challengers would have been champions save for a late change by UCA that gave the title to Tornado Bee
The final decision on the status of Tornado club had an implication on both ends of the 2016 National Men’s Division One 50-Over League log.
That they suffered the knife for the first time in one of the fraternity’s bold decisions passed by new Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) chairman Bashir ‘Badu’ Ansasira, Challengers, too, lost the title to Tornado Bee last month.
“After playing all a thrilling brand of cricket, it was painful to lose the title,” Challengers’ batsman Arthur Kyobe told Sunday Monitor in a recent interview.
Challengers would have celebrated a maiden title after earning promotion in 2013.
However, that ‘set-back’ is one they want to leave in their past which is some 231 days later from last season’s turbulent final day - July 17, 2016.
Vaheed Mohammed’s club now wants to start a fresh chapter on a high when the new season bowls off with an interesting match against Nile at Lugogo Oval this morning.
“We want to take one game at a time,” left-hander Kyobe said. “Obviously, the big target is to claim the championship at the end of the day.”
The 2016 Twenty20 winners Challengers have added Irfan Afridi (from KICC), Kamal Shahzad (Aziz Damani) and David Wabwire (Tornado) to bolster their batting and bowling attacks.
However, 1995 winners Nile, who survived relegation at the expense of Tornado, want a better season.
“We had a good team last year but didn’t perform well generally,” Nile skipper David Musoke told this paper.
“Nile is ready to compete for a top slot,” he added while promising to unveil a surprise package.
Meanwhile, record top-flight champions Tornado start life in the lower tier against Challengers’ feeder side Strikers at the lakeside oval in Entebbe.
Strikers welcome trio Derrick Bakunzi, Sohaib Ehsan and Fahad Sadiq all from Challengers.
NATIONAL MEN’S 50-OVER LEAGUE
TODAY’S FIXTURES - 10:30AM
Challengers vs. Nile, Lugogo
Tornado vs. Strikers, Entebbe