Uganda Victoria Pearls return to international cricket for the first time since September 2021 when they competed in the ICC T20 Africa World Cup Qualifiers in Botswana. The ladies will be taking part in a three-nation Tri-Series against Zimbabwe and host Namibia. The tournament will run from April 19th -26th.
The Victoria Pearls finished fourth at the qualifiers in Botswana, an average position given the high standards the side has been known for, for the last four years. That performance cost the technical team their respective positions and now a new technical team will be in charge while in Namibia. Cricket Cranes legend Lawrence Ssematimba is head coach with his namesake Lawrence Ssempijja his deputy while Rita Tinka joins the dugout as Team Manager.
The squad of 14 includes six players who will be making their senior debut for the Victoria Pearls including; Phionah Kulume, Sarah Akiteng, Leona Babirye, Susan Kakai, Shakira Sadik and 15-year-old Jimia Muhammad. Rita Nyagendo makes a return to international cricket after a long break and her experience will be vital. Experienced Consy Aweko has been named as the new captain of the team replacing Immaculate Nakisuyi whereas Janet Mbabazi keeps her position as the vice-captain.
The stakes in the tri-series tournament are very high for all three sides. Zimbabwe is ranked 11th in the global T20 rankings, Uganda is the second ranked nation at 19th while the hosts Namibia are placed 21st. Given the series have ICC T20 International status, there will be valuable ranking points for the best performing sides. Zimbabwe has the most to lose as the highest ranked side while Namibia will be looking at making their home advantage count in order to pick points from those ahead of them.
VICTORIA PEARLS SQUAD TO NAMIBIA
1. Consy Nimungu Aweko (Captain), 2. Janet Mbabazi (Vice-Captain), 3. Kevin Awino, 4. Rita Musamali, 5. Patricia Malemikia, 6. Phiona Egaru Kulume, 7. Sarah Akiteng, 8. Susan Kakai, 9. Rita Elizabeth Nyagendo, 10. Naome Bagenda Kayondo, 11. Leona Mirembe Babirye, 12. Evelyn Anyipo, 13. Shakirah Sadick, 14. Jimia Abdallah Mohammed.