My U19 Story..

13 Oct

11 years we sat here in the same lounge watching the Westindies team with Ravi Rampaul walk past us. We were all heading to Bangladesh for the U19 WC.
As the 1st Uganda side to qualify for a tournament of that magnitude we were very excited.
Our journey to Bangladesh started in Namibia(I wasn’t part of this tour becuase of school commitments) but the lads had done well to qualify with Namibia as Africa’s reps.
We prepared hard with Coach Tom in Kampala, spending a whole month working on our skills.  For acclamatisation we spent 2 weeks in Chandigarh India but it was the wrong time to go there.  The place was so cold in that we lost all our games with spin being our downfall in al games. India was horrible to us, from the food to not showering we were losing morale.
We connected to Dhaka and damn we were finally in the World Cup.
For the 1st time in my life I got flowers around my neck the stuff they do for Sevo whenever he returns.
World Cup is world cup, no one treated us as underdogs we were heroes in those people’s eyes.  Even our bus driver was so proud of us he made us sign an autograph book for his son.
We were put in a group with 3 test teams,  hosts Bangladesh, England and Southafrica.
1st was Southafrica,  I didn’t play this game but I observed. Philander refused to play against us because he thought we were a waste of this calories. As usual we got whopped scoring 123 all out which SA chased for 1. Craig Alexander,  Keegan Africa, Andrew Bich,  Divan Van Wyk were part of the SA team.  Now we knew what it takes to be playing in the world cup.
England led by Alaistar Cook was up next and we taken to school. We had nicknamed cook ‘omufumbi’ and we were watching out for him.  Cook scored one of the best 23 runs I will ever see in my life, Otim aka Uncle Ray took a stunner to dismiss him and he did us a huge favour. Our fielding and fitness saved us about 50 runs that day with England getting 242, I remember irritating Ravi Bopara with my yapping behind the stumps.  He asked y i keep saying ‘well bowled Ochan’ when he is hitting everything and I mumbled ‘ am encouraging my bowler’
Samit Patel, Liam Plunkett, James Hildreth,  Tim Bresnan, Luke Wright n Cook as Captain made up the England team.
Special mention for stiff who was bowling blinders to us, I had never seen a wicketkeeper stand so far in my life.
Stiff had gotten all of us even before we played, in the tournament book his Bio read David Alexander Stiff ‘Right Arm Fast’ no one wanted to face that.
We were 42 all out with Davis and Ssemanda offering some resistance. Bresnan got me for 2 runs and was I glad it was him not stiff.
The hosts Bangladesh were a different story, in front of a sell out crowd we were 0 4 2 Kintu Micheal and I gone off the 1st 2 balls.
Hamza handled the Hatrick ball with class but we didn’t survive long scoring 66 all out.
However, Issa bowled a spell of his life that earned him MOM award Bangladesh chasing our 66 for 6. Issa claimed all the 6 scalps,  poor Issa told reporters in the press conference that his coach told him to bowl ‘tatu kwaine’ or 3/4 as you know it. We all just burst out and laughed.
Group stage was a tough ask for us and in the plate were able to compete. Nepal,  Ireland and Canada were our size.
We had good batting totals in all games but only nicked Canada.
Eion Morgan was in that Irish team,  We have away many runs against and even though we scored over 200 It wasnt enough in the end.
The Canada win was special because Martin Ondeko got 99 not out In that game. He could have gotten his ton but Otim couldn’t hear us screaming for him to stop swinging hard and give Martin the stike.
Either way that was our only World Cup win and it being our last game, it was a good way to sign off our 1st World Cup.
We were treated nothing less than celebs,  autographs,  police escort,  5 star hotels,  I don’t remember being paid but it didn’t matter.
Shikar Dhawan was player of the tournament in 2004. Huge lad I wonder why tv makes him look so small.
I sit here with these kids waiting for our connection to Malaysia and I know the feeling.
The Emirates Airbus 722-300 got them excited already, I know the feeling.  i hope they are fearless and go the whole mile..
That World Cup prepared us well for our next in 2006..
Clive Kyangunga as Captain
Hamza Saleh, Kintu Micheal,  Arinatiwe Davis, Martin Ondeko, Ronald Ssemanda, Ruyange Junior, Ochan Patrick, Jimmy Okello, Fred Isabirye, Kyobe Arthur, Charles Waiswa and myself.
Tomorrow I will tell you about 2006 SriLanka..


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