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‘Namibia is where we want to be’ – Uganda up for the challenge in Windhoek

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The last time these two sides meet was at the Men’s T20 World Cup Africa Qualifier in Kampala where Namibia came up tops, eventually winning the tournament and also earning themselves a place at the World Cup via the global qualifier in the UAE. 

In 2019 Namibia also became an ODI nation going further ahead of Uganda in the ICC rankings establishing the hosts as favourites for the upcoming series. Uganda have made some good strides though; since the resumption of sports since COVID the Cricket Cranes have hired South African Laurence Mahatlane as head coach. The improvements in the side have been evident in recent trial games. At last count, a total of 36 matches have been played between October and now, which is much higher than the average number of games an Associate men’s national team gets to play in a season.

The travelling side will miss the services of its captain Brian Masaba who is out injured and the coach hinted on how much that will affect the side. 

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‘Brian Masaba is a “3 in 1” player (leg spinner, batter and fielder) and also our leader, his exclusion will definitely affect us. We have been working together as a group and one of us missing out is a hard one,’ Mahatlane said.

In his absence steps up the very capable Arnold Otwani, who also took the reins during the first round of the Challenge League B in Oman where Uganda won all five of their List A internationals. Otwani has a number of senior players to help out while on the field, former captains Roger Mukasa and Frank Nsubuga will provide guidance as well as the experienced duo of Ronak Patel and Dinesh Nakrani. 

The youngsters in the side include Frank Akankwasa, Kenneth Waiswa, Trevor Bukenya and debutant Cosmas Kyewuta. All are recent graduates from the U19 side and will be looking to stake a case for long term inclusion. 

Jonathan Ssebanja who was very impressive in the trial games has gotten another opportunity to show what he can do for the side, Hamu Kayondo who was not part of the Challenge League team in Oman has been included in the final 14. The batting department has had a luxury of resources with guys like Emmanuel Hasakya and Simon Ssesazi who were impressive in the trials both missing out. 

Led by Gerhard Erasmus the Eagles of Namibia have named a very strong squad, and not one which the Cricket Cranes will not be taking lightly. 

Coach Laurence Mahatlane is aware of the gap between the two and is realistic of the team’s expectations in Namibia 

‘Namibia is where we want to be, so we want to use this tour to test ourselves on the things we have been working on. Therefore, the purpose of the tour is to find out how far our batting has come, how the young bowlers cope with pressure from top-class batters and how we cope against top sides in a match situation.’

The two sides will play two 50 over games and three T20 Internationals with the action starting on Saturday with the first T20I. 

Squads:

Namibia: Gerhard Merwe Erasmus (captain), Tangeni Lungameni, JP Kotze, Mauritius Ngupita, JJ Smit, Jan Frylinck, Karl Birkenstock, Ben Shikongo, Bernard Scholtz, Nicol Loftie-Eaton, Craig Williams, Michael van Lingen, Stephen Baard, Michau du Preez, Dewald Nell, Divan La Cock, Shaun Fouche and Ruben Trumpelmann.

Uganda: Arnold Otwani (captain), Frank Akankwasa, Trevor Bukenya, Jonathan Ssebanja, Frank Nsubuga, Ronak Patel, Kenneth Waiswa, Riazat Ali Shah, Cosmas Kyewuta, Dinesh Nakrani Henry Ssenyondo, Roger Mukasa, Saud Islam, Hamu Kayondo 

Schedule (All matches at Wanderers Cricket Ground, Windhoek – GMT+2) 

April 3: 1.30pm: T20 International 

April 5:

9am: T20 International 

1.30pm: T20 International 

April 7: 9am: 50-over Match 

April 8: 9am: 50-over Match 

All matches live streamed via Cricket Namibia / Tv2 Namibia

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Denis Musali
Denis is digital communications manager for Cricket Uganda and also writes for Kawowo Sports. If it isn't cricket he spends his time working on his ridesharing startup. On a Sunday he captains his club side Wanderers Cricket club as a wicket-keeper batsman.

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