Uganda’s U-19 boys cricket team, the Baby Cricket Cranes survived being demoted to Div 1 following a series of underwhelming performances at the U-19 World Cup Qualifiers that ended on Sunday in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
The Baby Cricket Cranes approached this tournament ranked higher than everyone else, and favourites to earn the ticket to Sri Lanka for the World Cup, but their mediocre displays could not let that happen.
They instead found themselves facing a possibility of getting relegated to Div 2. Even after falling to Kenya in their penultimate game, Uganda still had an outside chance of qualifying for the World Cup. Those hopes were shuttered when they lost to minnows Sierra Leone in their final game, but most dishearteningly, that loss put them in a position of getting demoted.
They will have Tanzania to thank for rescuing the situation. After securing that big win, Sierra Leone had improved their chances of dislodging Uganda from the third position, but they were unable to replicate their display against Isaneez’s team when they faced the hosts as they lost by 6 wickets.
It was a victory most celebrated by the Ugandan camp. After the games, Isaneez admitted the campaign had been a ‘disaster’.
“The coaching structure has a lot to deal with when we get back home. We expected so much, but it turned out to be a disaster.
“But we will keep our heads up because this is a progressive thing. We have learnt through the tournament, we have taken lessons.”
Uganda finished third to clinch the final place that ensures safety. Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Tanzania got relegated while Namibia won the tournament to qualify for the World Cup.