Going into the ICC Africa Region Division One Twenty20 championship that starts tomorrow at Lugogo, favourites Uganda are in pole position to defend the title, writes John Vianney Nsimbe.
In recent times, there hasn't been a moment that has brought the cricket fraternity together in joy like the eventful day of July 15 in 2011 when Uganda won the ICC Africa Region Division One T20 title ahead of Namibia. The place was Lugogo cricket oval.
The fact that Uganda had already lost to Namibia twice during the round-robin stage, it was hard to envisage a Uganda victory. Not against a team that was so full of confidence and technically better. However, coach Martin Suji's charges turned the near -impossible into a landmark moment, and it is the mission again this time. Suji is confident Uganda has what it takes to defend the title.
"[In last year's tournament], the team struggled in the early stages," he recalls. "What we did was to play it simple and concentrate on improving our strengths. Of course, we had no fear for Namibia [in the final] after having a feel of them twice. We were psychologically prepared for battle...which we did well."
That's the kind of attitude expected when Uganda rolls off the campaign against Kenya on Saturday. Suji has already warned he won't allow complacency to set in let alone anything that could dent the team's confidence. He adds that with the arrival of Khalid Moothosamy and Shaaiq Choudhry, the team is strengthened and, therefore, should do better than before.
In addition, the selection of the final squad hasn't been easy because of the commitment and competitiveness of players summoned for training.
However, Suji plays down who his key players are because he feels everyone has an important role to play. "It is the team ethic that will bring success," he says.
Indeed, if this team matches the expectations, it will be a reflection on how the team has come together in building a winning culture.