International Cricket

T20 World Cup 2024 – Uganda captain Brian Masaba – ‘We carry a whole country’s hopes on our backs’

The excitement in the Uganda camp, as well as back home, is understandable. After all, it will be their first World Cup game – T20 or ODI – when they face Afghanistan in Providence on Monday. And according to their captain Brian Masaba, they “carry a whole country’s hopes” on their backs.

“Absolutely huge game for us, our first game at a World Cup, first ever for Uganda in our history, so we are very excited to get going,” Masaba said on the eve of the match. “Obviously, there’s a bit of nerves but we’ve got to keep our focus on the game and try to get the result that we need because we need to kick off the tournament in the right way with good results.

“There’s obviously a lot of excitement back home. It’s not just a first for us in cricket, but I believe we are the third team in any sporting discipline in the country to qualify for the World Cup. So it’s not a small feat. So it’s not just the cricket community that is supporting us, there’s a lot of the other guys in all the other sports, as well as the government back home. So yeah, the whole country is super proud of what this team has achieved and they’re looking forward to seeing us going out there and representing the country with pride. It’s a huge responsibility for us, it’s not just about the cricket anymore, but we carry a whole country’s hopes on our backs.”

Uganda qualified for the World Cup via the Africa Qualifier, where they beat Zimbabwe by five wickets and finished second on the seven-team points table. The only side they lost to were fellow qualifiers Namibia. At the T20 World Cup, Uganda have West Indies, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea in their group, apart from Afghanistan.

“After our qualifier last November, we obviously realised we needed to play a lot of cricket to prepare ourselves for this World Cup; it’s a different level for us,” Masaba said. “And it was very important for us as a team to make sure we come here well prepared having got the right kind of practice. So it was a couple of tours to Sri Lanka, India as well, but a lot of intra-squad games as well.

“So we believe we have practised, we have prepared well for this tournament. Yes, it’s a huge challenge for us. It’s a tough group, but we look forward to the challenge. It’s a couple of the top teams in the world, but it’s going to be very important for us how we show up tomorrow and the kind of cricket that we display out there.”

“We were following that game very keenly,” Masaba said. “Obviously, we’re not too familiar with the local conditions, so we needed to pick up what information we could from that game. And the way Papua New Guinea went out there and played, it’s very good signs for us as well. It shows that the gap is not as huge as a lot of people want to believe.

“I believe if some of the smaller countries are given the opportunity to play, and the exposure, then they can compete against the top side. So we are very happy with the way that game went and we look to come out tomorrow and just try to emulate that.”

“They have done well for us over the last couple of years and being as young as they are, it’s very exciting to see them do what they do. Hopefully, this platform provides a bit more opportunity for them going forward. But you know we’ve got seasoned performers like Riazat Ali Shah as well, super talented lad, allrounder. He has won a couple of crunch games for us. So it’s a very dynamic team. It’s not super reliant on any one person. More often than not it’s a huge team effort that gets us our win, so you know that’s something I look forward to us doing again in this tournament.”

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Most Popular

To Top