- Cricket. 2017 African MVP Gertrude Candiru, Mary Nalule, Saidat Kemigisha and Carol Namugenyi are replaced by Sarah Walaza, Maria Kagoya, Evelyn Anyipo and Damalie Busingye in the squad.
A number of gaps were exposed after when hosts Uganda finished second behind Zimbabwe after the Women’s Victoria T20 Tri-Series early last month.
And that warm-up tournament seemed to have come in handy for Lady Cricket Cranes ahead of the ICC Africa Women’s Twenty20 Cup.
The team acknowledged a number of improvements at least, going by skipper Kevin Awino’s words before they departed to Zimbabwe for the May 5-12 showpiece.
“Since the Tri-Series, we have made improvements with the bat,” Awino remarked after receiving the national flag from National Council of Sports (NCS) Corporate Affairs Officer Ismail Dhakaba Kigongo in company of Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) boss Bashir Ansasiira.
“We weren’t taking singles during the Tri Series. Most of us were interested in knocking the big shots for fours and sixes yet our opponents kept going for the singles,” said Awino.
“Our fielding was never bad but we locked up a bit in the Series but we talked about it in camp and hope to do better.”
And that could prove key for Uganda who seek to retain the title they won two years ago in Namibia. From Windhoek, there is a change in coaching with Michael Ndiko replacing Kenyan Francis Otieno while 2017 Africa T20 MVP Gertrude Candiru, Mary Nalule, Saidat Kemigisha and Carol Namugenyi replaced by Sarah Walaza, Maria Kagoya, Evelyn Anyipo and Damalie Busingye in the 14-man squad.
The latter quartet are all hoping to debut against Sierra Leone, Namibia and Kenya in Group B while in Harare.
Having had a three-week camp in Lugogo on the back of training sessions since December, Awino believes the new faces have gelled in. “We’ve been together and these replacements are young players who bring in unknown quantities for the opponents. This spices up our chances of retaining the trophy,” added Awino.
Only seven players were available for the press conference as others were tussling it out in the final stages of the UCA Girls Schools Cricket Week. The team departed at 2am this morning.
ICC WOMEN AFRICA t20
DATES: MAY 5-12
GROUP A: Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Rwanda, Nigeria
GROUP B: Namibia, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Uganda
MAY 5 - 12.50pm: Uganda vs. Sierra Leone, Harare SC
MAY 6 - 12.50pm: Uganda vs. Namibia, Harare Sports Club
MAY 6 - 8.30pm: Kenya vs. Uganda, Old Hararians SC
TEAM TO ZIMBABWE
PLAYERS: Kevin Awino (Captain), Janet Mbabazi (Assistant Captain), Immaculate Nakisuyi, Rachel Ntono, Damalie Busingye, Naomi Kayondo, Rita Musamali, Stephanie Nampiina, Joyce Mary Apio, Evelyn Anyipo, Consy Aweko, Franklyn Najjumba, Sarah Walaza, Maria Kagoya
OFFICIALS: Mary Nanderenga (Caretaker Manager), Michael Ndiko (Coach), Habib Mugalula (Assistant Coach), Habiba Kulsam (Physio), Denis Musali (Media Manager)