- African cricket club, ACC was the first cricket club in the country formed in 1930 by Buganda kingdom’s prince George Mawanda.
KAMPALA. The 12th edition of the International Cricket conference (ICC) World Cup gets underway May 30 in England with 10 nations tussling it out for the sport’s most trophy. This year’s participating nations include holders Australia, England, South Africa, Pakistan, West Indies, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Bangaladesh, and India. Uganda has never participated in this prestigious tournament yet there are three Ugandans that have in the past featured in the tournament.
The first time this happened was in 1975 during the first edition of the ICC World Cup hosted by England and won by West Indies. This was when a combined team of the East African region was invited to take place and comprised of seven Kenyans, Three Zambians, two Ugandans and two Tanzanians. Sam Walusimbi (Co-founder of Wanderers cricket club) and John Nagenda (now presidential adviser on media) were the only players selected from Uganda and the only blacks in the team whose other 12 players were Africans of Asian origin. At the start of the 1975 tournament Walusimbi and Nagenda were 27 and 37 years old respectively.
With no experienced players compared to other particpating nations like Australia, England, New Zealand, Pakistan, West Indies and India, the only six test playing teams of the time, the East African team featured miserably by losing all matches.
The combined team began its campaign on June 7 with a game against New Zealand which the latter won by 181 runs (East Africa: 128-6 in 60, New Zealand : 309-5 in 60). In the second match India won by 10 wickets (East Africa: 120 all out in 55.3, India: 123-0 in 29.5) and in the last match England carried the day winning by 196 runs (England : 290-5 in 60, East Africa: 94 all out in 52.3).
In the tournament John Nagenda played only one match and memorably took 1/50 in 9 overs in a match against New Zealand where he picked the wicket of New Zealand cricket star, KJ Walsworth. Sam Walusimbi, on the other hand played in all the three matches grossing 38 runs with the bat. His highest score was 16 against India, one run better than his tally against the England team which went all the way to the semifinals where they lost to Australia.
In 1975 John Nagenda’s batting style was “Right hand” with his bowling one being “Right arm- fast medium” while Walusimbi’s batting one was “right hand” with the bowling style being “Left arm medium”.
It was indeed an histolical moment for members of the East Africans team being granted an opportunity to lock horns with the sport’s best players and nations and finishing last in the tournament didn’t seem bother them at all.
Thirty two years later, another Ugandan stepped in Walusimbi and Nagenda’s footsteps when featured in the 2007 ICC World Cup staged by West Indies. This was then 28 year-old Ugandan born Canadian cricketer Henry Osinde who featured for his new adapted nation of Canada. In 2011 in India, Osinde was to repeat this feat by playing in the ICC World Cup for the second consecutive time . All in all., the cricket sport has come a long way to establish itself in the country where sports like soccer , boxing and athletics have grabbed a lions share of sports fans. It was however during the 1950s that the national team comprising of mainly Ugandans of Asian origin started playing cricket on regular basis. Uganda became an associate member of ICC in 1998 and have since the establishment of the ICC cricket league in 2007 has had a national team altering between divisions two and three. In 2015 Uganda was placed fifth in division two event and in 2017 relegated to division three.
Earlier on, Uganda’s first class cricket debut came on April 23 2003 against Namibia in Windhoek and a twenty20 debut match in January 2010 against UAE in Dubai. Uganda has had many” firstr class cricketers” like Caxton Njuki , Sam Walusimbi, John Nagenda,Kenneth Kamyuka, Junior Kwebiha, Tendo Mbazzi, Benjamin Musoke, Frank Nsubuga, Richard Okia, Joel Olweny, Lawrence Ssematimba, Charles Waisswa and Akbar Baig.
African cricket club, ACC was the first cricket club in the country formed in 1930 by Buganda kingdom’s prince George Mawanda.
Sam Walusimbi was first named captain of the national team in 1976 under the chairmanship of engineer Dronyi. At Makerere university Walusimbi also participated in athletics and once set up a record in the 110 metres hurdles which lasted for long.
In Kampala the sport of cricket was first played at a pitch near the clock tower along Entebbe road before it shifted to Lugogo around 1984.
Charles Waisswa shortly played in the Nottinghamshire premier cricket league at Killamarsh Junior cricket club in England.
Frank Nsubuga, a right-handed batsman has played for Uganda since 2001 .
PAST ICC WORLD CUP WINNERS
1975: WEST INDIES
1979: WEST INDIES
1996: Sri Lanka