Division IV? This is a first in a lifetime for the Cricket Cranes.
And although Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) Board, the technical team and players will not say it, it is as ashaming and as embarrassing for the national men’s cricket team to find itself in these doldrums.
Not even the greatest naysayer of pundits would have predicted this script that the Cricket Cranes would get relegated to the fourth tier of the International Cricket Council (ICC)’s World Cricket League (WCL) echelons during a tournament they hosted.
For a side that bossed Division III and on two occasions made the grade for Division II that attracts ICC High Performance Programme Funding, it hurts more.
But sport does humble even the strongest as Cricket Cranes will tell you after one team after another, cue in Canada, Oman and USA, made them grovel in-front of their own fans in dismal fashion to attract emotion-filled and largely indefensible criticism.
The beauty of sport is that it also gives a second chance with Cricket Cranes, top seeds here in Kuala Lumpur, poised to restore heavily dented pride in just under a year after their no-show at home.
“Let’s control what we can control,” is what captain Roger Mukasa has been preaching to his teammates at every meeting and training session since the team touched down in Malaysia.
“Everyone says we are a talented side and we don’t belong here. But words will not get us out of this Division IV.
“We must play smart cricket, win the trophy and give joy to the 41 million Ugandans back home.”
Mukasa, easily the best cricketer of this generation, speaks boldly in reference to the array of experienced veterans and bubbly youngsters in his ranks that must shoulder responsibility.
“I have been around the team for 11 years and some guys have been around much longer like my elder brother Frank Nsubuga and left-arm opening seamer Charles Waiswa.
“These guys alongside Brian Masaba and Irfan Afridi must offer guidance so that the ship doesn’t sink,” added Mukasa, who made his senior debut in 2007 at the Atul Shah Memorial Cup in Mombasa.
The team will be hoping for a flying start against hosts Malaysia at Kinrara Oval tomorrow before taking on 2007 World Cup finalists Bermuda at UKM Cricket Oval in two back-to-back Limited Overs (50 overs) rubbers.
A top two finish here will guarantee promotion to the Division III showpiece scheduled for later this year in either Australia or USA.
2018 ICC WCL DIV FOUR
Team Uganda Itinerary
April 29: Uganda vs. Malaysia
*Kinrara Academy Oval
April 30: Uganda vs. Bermunda
May 2: Uganda vs. Singapore
*Royal Selangor Club
May 3: Uganda vs. Denmark
*Kinrara Academy Oval
May 5: Uganda vs. Jersey