Proper investment and structure key for cricket to flourish in Uganda: Najjumba

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Proper investment and structure key for cricket to flourish in Uganda: Najjumba

Uganda in the field against Mali. © Uganda Cricket Association

Franklyn Najjumba, in-charge of women's cricket at Uganda Cricket Association, was with the women's team of Zimbabwe. She got a unique opportunity to get insights from the first-class team of how they are preparing for the tough demands of international cricket. She spent one month there as they were training and putting in hard yards for the World Cup Qualifier which was scheduled to take place in Sri Lanka in July. The tournament though was pushed back due to COVID-19 pandemic.

A squad of 21 female cricketers were together in Bulawayo and what caught Najjumba's attention was the number of people assembled for the technical team.

"Zimbabwe had a technical team of seven people each with a designated role. What stood out was a team psychologist who was there to help the players to prepare mentally," she told Kawowo Sports.

A webinar call was organized by Uganda Cricket Association to discuss various topics regarding fitness and high-performance training. Najjumba also felt that the squad of 21 cricketers are contracted by Zimbabwe Cricket and she feels that's one of the main reasons why cricket is being taken seriously in the country.

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Uganda cricketers are only called whenever there is a major cricket tournament takes place. The rest of the year they are relatively free and they do not have contracts too. Najjumba believes there needs to be proper structure in Uganda for cricket to flourish. She firmly stated a proper training and infrastructure needs to be placed for Uganda to chase other teams like Zimbabwe. In the year 2017, Uganda went to to be crowned African champions when they beat Zimbabwe and Najjumba feels, there is potential in plenty, but there needs to a process that needs to be followed.

"The Zimbabwe ladies prepare for a long time, being engaged for more than 3 months. The facilities they use are also first-class which helps them prepare well."

Currently, Uganda play only two qualifying tournaments compared four played by their male counterparts. If proper investment and structure is put in place then the ladies can go all the way to play in a global showpiece event.