For two good decades, Uganda Cricket Association-UCA has been playing women cricket locally and internationally.
So as the international women’s day fell on 8th March this year (2022) there was no better way than celebrating the two decades of women’s cricket in Uganda by the Cricket body of Uganda.
The activities including blood donations, aerobics classes, introduction to the game or learning cricket basics and real cricket actions were done at the Lugogo Cricket Oval for the main celebrations.
Women’s Cricket in Uganda started in the early 2000s with the Lady Cricket Cranes first international tournament played in 2001 in Dar es Salaam, featuring Kenya, Uganda and hosts Tanzania.
Since then, the global growth of the game has ensured the development of the Lady Cricket Cranes with their highest success coming in 2017 when they were crowned African Champions in Namibia after defeating favorites Zimbabwe in the final.
Save for their male counterparts, for ladies cricketers, their endurance in the game has always been very brief and short with life decisions especially family life cutting short their cricketing careers.
Women National team
The Uganda women’s national cricket team represents Uganda in international women’s cricket. They played their first matches as part of a triangular series that also involved Kenya and Kenya’s A side in January 2006.
They played in the African regional qualifiers for the 2009 World Cup in December 2006 against Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. They finished third in the tournament.
In April 2018, the International Cricket Council (ICC) granted full Women’s Twenty20 International (WT20I) status to all its members. Therefore, all Twenty20 matches played between Uganda women and another international side since 1 July 2018 have been full WT20I matches.
In July 2018, Uganda played its first WT20I match against Scotland in 2018 ICC Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier in Netherlands.
In June 2019, Uganda women scored 314 runs against Mali women in the Kwibuka Women’s T20 Tournament, the highest total for any team, male or female, in a T20 international match.
In December 2020, the ICC announced the qualification pathway for the 2023 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup. Therefore, Uganda women cricket national team was named in the 2021 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Africa Qualifier regional group, alongside ten other teams.
Women elite league;
With the country’s successful Men’s Elite Cricket League, the Uganda Cricket Association has a version of elite cricket for the women. The teams that have usually been two until this year-2022 with an inclusion of other two to make four the number of teams, they compete amongst each other with games held at Lugogo Cricket Oval and Kyambogo grounds in Kampala.
The tournament assembles four squads of 15, comprised of Uganda’s finest talent, to compete across T20 matches.
Talking about the tournament, Franklin Najjumba, the UCA women’s development officer, states the purpose of this tournament is to prepare lady cricketers for international seasons.
The National Women leagues
Uganda Cricket association more so the lady cricket department organizes annual cricket competitions for the ladies running across the cricket grounds of Kampala. They competed in by women in divisions one and two complete with trophies and other accolades at every end of the season.
Lady cricketers on fore consequently;
The list is very long with many coming through to the lady cricket national team and going immediately from the ranks. Will try thus to enlist those who have made their mark big on the national team as products of the women cricket of Uganda.
Namugenyi’s last do with the Lady Cricket Cranes at the Global Qualifiers of the Women’s Cricket World Cup was in the Netherlands but due to work commitments, she has not found time for the game.
Namugenyi was a mean machine with the ball in hand and hardly gave away anything. Her level of accuracy always gave the team the boost it needed at the start of innings as she created pressure that other bowlers exploited to take wickets.
Christine Jane Aryemo
She has been written about as the Uganda ladies cricket G.O.A.T, doing everything. She has batted strongly and could bowl some spin and also keep wickets. She is famous for being the first lady to score a century in local cricket.
Aryemo was also the ultimate team player with team needs coming before her own success. Like most girls, it was impossible to find the balance necessary to keep playing while holding down a job and finding time for her family.
She is one of the few ladies to have played the game for long. If longevity in the ladies game was a person then it has to be Mukakunsi.
A batsman wicket-keeper, Mukakunsi has also captained the Lady Cricket Cranes on a number of occasions. She still plays for her local club (Pioneer) and is available for national team engagements when needed.
Atim is one of the best all-rounders to have featured for the Lady Cricket Cranes. Unfortunately, during her time there were very few international tournaments but she was reliable for the national team whenever they had engagements.
Candiru a more recent star was also one of the best all-rounders for the Lady Cricket Cranes. She used to bowl some gentle but effective medium pace but her biggest strength was her ability to close out games at the back end of innings. She had a wide hitting range with the ability to go big when necessary or find singles if the bowling is tight. In the 2017 swansong in Namibia, Candiru was voted tournament MVP and also won the 2017 Female Cricketer of the Year as voted by USPA.
Najjumba and Aryemo formed the backbone of the Lady Cricket Cranes for a long period of time especially before the evolution of the ladies’ game. She was very strong and pacey opening bowler but also a very powerful hitter down the order. The mention of her name always sent shivers down the spines of the Kenyan ladies.
Other cricketers to have featured immensely in the lady ranks include, Consy Aweko, Flavia Laker, Mary Nanderenga Makumbi, Mackenzie Ayato, Justine Musubika, Lydia Bakumpe, Jackie Nakitto, Emily Nankumba, Belinda Maska and Belinda Lutaaya who was the first captain of the Lady Cricket Cranes.
Performances Records and Statistics
International Match Summary
Played 25 matches
Won 13 matches
Lost 12 matches
Highest team total: 314/2
Highest individual score: 116, Prosscovia Alako
Best individual bowling figures: 4/2, Joyce Apio
All these coming off a June 23rd 2019 match against Mali at Gahanga International Cricket Stadium, Kigali.
WT20I-18th (current rank) with the 14th (6-Jan-2019) as the best ever.
- Mr. Daniels N. Tatya is an affluent Sports Writer, Commentator and Editor. His over 15 years of covering almost major sporting events makes him a revered and an authority on investigative Sports journalism in Uganda. He can also be reached via [email protected] +256(0)758268315
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