Uganda’s National Women Cricket team, the Victoria Pearls, will play Nepal in five T20 international matches due May 16-21 at the Tribhuvan University Cricket ground as the side continue to fine tune for World Cup Qualifiers.
This will be the team’s first trip in Asia, and their third overall outside the African Continent. Previously, Uganda used to tour neighbors Kenya, Rwanda, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Uganda’s first tour outside Africa was in December 2016 at the UAE International Women T20 Cup which came as a huge milestone as Women’s Cricket was introduced in Uganda in 2001.
In UAE, coached by Francis Othieno and captained by Barbara Makakunsi, Uganda beat Oman in UAE in their first game outside the Continent.
The team’s second trip outside the continent came in July 2018 in Netherlands at the T20 Global Qualifiers, then captained by Kevin Awino.
“Getting out of Africa has never been easy,” Uganda Cricket CEO Martin Ondeko has told The-SportsNation.
“With this one, Nepal will take care of everything and that takes off a quarter off what really the total budget would have been. And it’s only with partnerships like these that we can get out of the country.”
Ondeko has tasked the team contingent to make partnerships in Nepal because “the country is a Cricket loving nation.”
“I believe this is going to be a start of many (trips) to come, if we go out there and we give a good account of ourselves. I am sure they and other countries out there will invite us, I mean, everyone wants to play against a good side, it’s up to us to show that we are actually good enough to rub shoulders with the big boys.”
The trip to Nepal comes on the back of a tour to Namibia where the Victoria Pearls failed to impress and slid two places in the international rankings.
And the one to Nepal provides Uganda with a good opportunity to make amends. Its work cut out for Uganda who are ranked 21 as they seek to stun a 16th-placed Nepal.
Ondeko explains: “We are going to play against a country that is ranked above us, so it’s easier to get points when you play against a team that is higher than you than facing one lower than you.”
“We are going out there knowing that we have to do our best and play well to ensure that we can be able to improve our rankings irrespective of whether we win or not.”
Ondeko added that Uganda targets to be among the top 20 in rankings in order to be assured of playing in ICC Qualifiers, further urging the girls to be aware of what is at stake. “Many ICC decisions are made depending on how you are ranked.
“To the team leadership, We want the event be a yearly event, we hope to sign MOU. They are good consumers of Cricket and it’s easy to make good partnerships and I am sure they will propel us to good heights.”
Team captain Consy Aweko has maintained a positive face despite the team’s poor show at the Capricorn Tri-Series in Namibia where they dropped from 19th to 21st.
Experienced Franklyn Najjumba and Sarah Walaza have been added to the team that toured Naminbia, with Jimia Mohammad and Naomi Kayondo paving way.
Flagging off the team, National Council of Sports (NCS) Assistant General Secretary David Katende commented: “ I think you have prepared enough, hope you got good lessons in Windhoek. They are better than us but we should scratch them as well.”
UCA has revealed that Shuya Pads has provided the girls with all the sanitary needs for the tour.
Team Manager Rita Tinka stated that “We will do our best to execute” in Nepal.
The Full Team:
Consy Nimungu Aweko (Captain), 2. Janet Mbabazi (Vice-Captain), 3. Kevin Awino, 4. Rita Musamali, 5. Patricia Malemikia, 6. Phiona Egaru Kulume, 7. Sarah Akiteng, 8. Susan Kakai, 9. Rita Elizabeth Nyagendo, 10. Franklin Najjumba, 11. Leona Mirembe Babirye, 12. Evelyn Anyipo, 13. Shakirah Sadick, 14. Sarah Walaza.
1 .Laurence Ssematimba (Head Coach), 2. Lawrence Ssempijja (Assistant Coach), 3. Imam Tugume (Team Physiotherapist), 4. Rita Patience Tinka Mbabazi (Team Manager)