Uganda will be among the 16 participants at the 2022 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup next year in West Indies.
This, will be the third time in Ugandan history to have a team at the U19 Cricket World Cup after previous appearances in 2004 and 2006.
The achievement was reached at last week when the Baby Cricket Cranes topped the qualification tournament in Kigali.
“Its a very big achievement not just for Uganda Cricket Association but for Uganda as a well. I can count teams off one hand that have made it to the World Cup,” said UCA CEO Martin Ondeko in an exclusive interview with The-SportsNation.
“As a Federation, we are really proud of the Baby Cricket Cranes for taking us back to the World Cup after 16 years.
“World Cup is World Cup, be it Soccer or Netball, its huge. Playing at World Cup stage is everyone’s dream. I believe these young boys have earned the right to be there.
“Playing at a World Cup never goes away, like Olympics, you will still be called an Olympian even 90 years later.”
- Also read – Uganda Qualifies for U19 Cricket World Cup
Ondeko was part of Uganda’s first ever squad that represented the country at the 2004 U19 Cricket World Cup that was played in Bangladesh.
He scored an unbeaten 99 not out off 148 balls, including nine fours, as Uganda beat Canada by five wickets on February 27 2004 at the Chittagong Divisional Stadium.
His total that day has never been surpassed by any Ugandan and the CEO has challenged the current crop to break his mark.
Ondeko reflected: “It was definetly a very interesting time for me, I was in Ntale School at the time, It was very big for me to be called from an upcountry school.”
“And also going on to score the highest runs ever by a Ugandan and am hoping that the team going to West Indies can break that record.”
Ondeko said that the future has always been bright for Uganda Cricket looking at the programs that they run right from the grassroots.
He added that whatever is happening right now was not planned five months ago but it has been going on for like the last 10 years.
Ondeko also stated that they will be meeting with various stakeholders to draw a roadmap for the World Cup next year.
The CEO also commented that Cricket Association should be one of the most funded Federation “not just what the Baby Cricket Cranes have done but generally how Cricket have performed on and off the pitch.”
“Forgeting about the results on pitch but off pitch as well. In every forum, they are talking about Cricket as the best run Sports Federation, as a Federation with policies and forward thinking. I believe that should also be enough for Governement to give us more support than we receive as cricket.”
The Senior men national team is in Rwanda for the T20 World Cup Qualifiers African region and also chasing a ‘One Day International’ Status.
Ondeko is confident that the ODI status is within reach and may be achieved in 2023 in case Uganda triumphs at the World Challenge League Group B.
He revealed: “So with ODI statuts, it ensures that more funding comes into the association and more engagements for the National teams. The future is bright, we just have to work towards the set goals.”