Physical Address: c/o National Council of Sports Headquarters
Lugogo Stadium, PO Box 8346
Kampala, Uganda
Main switchboard + 256 312 264 916
Fax + 1 441 292 8959
General enquiry email: ugandacricket@utlonline.co.ug , mpekam@yahoo.com

Background

The Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) is the national body responsible for organisation and development of cricket in the country.

The UCA is affiliated to the National Council of Sports. In 1998, Uganda was admitted as an Associate Member of the International Cricket Council (ICC). UCA is also a founder member of the Africa Cricket Association (ACA).

The start of the game is associated with British rule and the arrival of the Indians. In Uganda, the game was immediately introduced in schools, starting with Busoga College Mwiri, King's College Budo, Makerere College School and Nyakasura School. With time, it also grew outside the schools amongst the respective ethnic groups - Goans, Asians, Europeans and Africans.

In 1939, the first 'Schools Cricket Week' was held between the four pioneer schools. This tournament has since developed into a regular feature that is the source of national cricketers.

The 1940s and 1950s saw the development of a local triangular tournament which later became a quadrangular. In 1966, the inaugural East African Championship was played and Uganda emerged the champions. This tournament became a major and almost sole international event for Uganda, until 1998 when it attained Associate Membership of the ICC. Cricket in Uganda has over the years developed through the respective development programmes as detailed here:

Mini Cricket Development Programme

Mini Cricket was introduced in Uganda in 1994 by ICC Regional Development Manager Hoosain Ayob (then Development Manager of UCBSA) and the late Sir Conrad Hunte.

The programme started with only four schools (all in Kampala). The programme uses locally manufactured bats, and at the worst, used lawn tennis balls. The rules are simplified to enable it be played in primary schools in different settings. It is easily played by both boys and girls. Today, 186 schools in 21 districts across the entire country play the game competitively and this number is limited by budgetary and managerial constraints.

Tournaments are played progressively at district, regional and eventually at national level. School leavers are trained to provide basic coaching and also help in running the tournaments. Schools form district and regional committees which are a key in the running of this programme. Products of this programme are now the backbone of all our age group tournaments (both boys and girls).

Schools Development Programme

As highlighted, activities related to this programme started way back, with the first tournament in 1939 for four schools. The programme was expounded formally during 1976, when it was realised that, with the expulsion of Asians, a solid programme in schools had to be consolidated. This tournament has recently been sponsored by M/S Century Bottling Company Limited. It typically starts with coaching visits to schools, where some equipment is donated, subject to availability.

Holiday camps are held in the first-term holidays, where each school is able to send some players for coaching. School masters are involved as well. For the last few years, these camps (and the coaching visits) have been financed as part of the ICC Regional Development budget. During the months of May/June/July, regional schools tournaments are held, to determine the best 12 schools teams that do eventually participate in the schools cricket week. The final 12 have been increased to 13, including the Rwanda National Schools XI that is invited to take part in a bid to up standards of cricket in the neighbouring country.

This programme currently covers 45 boys' secondary schools, but actual demand is much higher than this because of the numbers generated by mini cricket. The main constraint here is lack of equipment and playing surfaces. A debt of gratitude needs to be paid to the British High Commission and Indian High Commission through the 1980s and 1990s. Bankstead District Cricket Club in Australia has generously donated equipment to Uganda Cricket Association since 2006. This equipment is used in schools, for the U13, U15, U19 and women's cricket in the country.

This programme has been responsible for producing the players that have enabled Uganda to qualify for the ICC U19 Cricket World Cups in 2004 and 2006. Uganda's win in the ICC Africa U19 Championships in Zambia in April/May 2009 is a testimony to the development programmes. The senior national side is composed of products of the above programmes and currently half the squad are products of the last three years.

Women's Cricket Development programme

With the success of the mini cricket programme, the number of secondary school girls interested in playing cricket has increased. The association thus started a programme for this category in 1999 - initially covering four schools but currently running in 19. Initial programmes were limited to coaching visits, provision of equipment and exchange of visits. During 2001, the British Council, through their Dreams and Teams project, extended support to this programme as part of the campaign to establish leadership skills in young ladies through sports.

Since 2001, the association has run a Girls' Schools Cricket Week that was proudly sponsored by World Health Organisation, relaying Aids Awareness messages and talk shows. The Association has taken over the mantle while it seeks a new sponsor. When the ICC established regional age group tournaments in 2001, this programme enabled Uganda to raise a competitive women's team, and this has won regional championships for several years. After sweeping all accolades in the East Africa championship in January 2009, the Uganda ladies came back home yearning for more competitions. The programme now runs in 19 schools and, of late, the donation of equipment from Bankstead District Cricket Club has been very handy. In 2007, Uganda Cricket Association hosted the first senior women's cricket tournament and currently runs a full two-round league with four teams. The UCA is also aware of their social responsibility, and a number of projects are taking place in underprivileged areas, giving the physically disabled and blind the opportunity to play cricket.

Awards

Through the above programmes, Uganda Cricket Association has won ICC Global Best Development Programme 2005, Life Time Service Award 2004, Best Junior Initiative 2005 and Best Volunteer 2006.

Games and Grounds

As stated earlier, there were local tournaments, based on ethnic groupings in the 1950s up to the mid-1970s, when Asians were expelled and a lot of the European expatriates left the country for security reasons. Only the Africa Cricket Club was left, and even they suffered their fate: in 1978, one of the founder members, Fred Luswata was brutally murdered at the Cricket Club. Africa Cricket Club, however, formed several teams that gave rise to some of the current clubs. Currently, the season consists of two knockouts, a Twenty20, a two-round league and a Champions Trophy.

During the 1990s, astro turf was introduced, and is still in place at four of the five major grounds. During 2003, a grass wicket was laid at Lugogo, with sponsorship from Castle Lager and Shell Uganda Limited. In 2006, the MCC donated $5,000 towards the laying of a grass wicket at Kyambogo. Uganda Cricket Association laid yet another grass wicket in Entebbe in February/March 2009. Uganda now boasts of three grounds up to international standards. Plans to lay more grass wickets and acquire more grounds are heavily constrained by a lack of funds but the Association has vowed to use every tool with its means to improve grounds in the country.

Administration

The Constitution of Uganda Cricket Association defines its membership as the Clubs affiliated to it. The delegates of these clubs, together with the Members of the Executive that are elected annually, constitute the Association's Council, the top governing unit of the Association. The Executive, together with members appointed to head the respective programme heads take care of the affairs of the Association, with policy guidance from Council. All the above mentioned are volunteers, and this culture of volunteerism that has been passed on over the years has been very instrumental to the success of the programmes, especially in the bad days.

On top of the above, the Association hires 14 full-time employees, inclusive of the Administrative Officer, Development Officer and Accountant, Field Operations, two coaches and eight grounds staff to manage the office and support all programmes. These are supported by part-time volunteers during the programmes. Although the above officers are employed on a full-time basis, their pay does not reflect the kind of work they do.

Senior National Team

As stated, the first major international engagement for the senior national team was the East and Central African Cricket Quadrangulars of 1966. The Uganda team was selected from the five-clubs tournaments (Pentangulars) which climaxed the seasons and involved the Indian, Goan, White, Muslim and African clubs. Uganda hosted the ECACC in 1975 and out of this Sam Walusimbi and John Nagenda were selected to play for the East and Central African team in the World Cup. The years of turmoil that followed made it very difficult for Uganda to regularly participate in this tournament, but thanks to individual efforts, Uganda persisted.

After 25 years, Uganda won this tournament again in 1991, and thereafter, started to dominate it. With the inauguration of the Africa Cricket Association in 1996, Uganda started to regularly feature in the ACA Cup, a successor to the Zone 6 tournament. Its highlight so far was 2004, when Uganda finished second, behind Namibia. In 1998, Uganda became an Associate Member of the ICC, and in 2001 finished 10th overall in the ICC Trophy in Canada, having entered as seed 25. This was a major turning point in various ways. While on the positive side, Uganda was recognised as a stronghold of cricket, this also meant that Uganda had to work harder to display its abilities.

As stated earlier, at that time, Uganda dominated the Quadrangulars and Africa Cup, but as was to soon be demonstrated, these tournaments were at the low level. In 2004, the ICC introduced the ICC Intercontinental Cup, and in the first edition, Uganda beat Namibia comprehensively, but also lost to Kenya by an innings and four runs. In the 2005 edition, Uganda narrowly lost to Namibia, but comprehensively lost to Kenya again. In 2005, Uganda hosted a lot of friendly contests, and excelled there.

A lot of support was received from Castle Lager, MTN Uganda and Shell Uganda, who also sponsored the team to the ICC Trophy in Ireland the same year. Uganda's performance at the tournament can be described in so many ways, but it was poor, to say the least.

While Uganda's performance at the Atul Shah Memorial in Mombasa early 2006 was exciting, the team lost against the full Kenya side. In the World Cricket League Division 3, Uganda performed well by winning the trophy in Darwin, Australia in 2007. Uganda were, thus, promoted to Division 2. It finished fifth out of six teams in the World Cricket League Division 2 in Windhoek, Namibia, and was consequently relegated back to Division 3.

Uganda then proceeded to Buenos Aires, Argentina for its next tournament, where it came in the top two to qualify for the ICC WCQ in South Africa in April 2009. There it finished 10th out of 12 and can be proud of narrow defeats to top-class Associates like Ireland, Scotland and Canada.

Its next senior competition will be the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Africa Region Division One.