By Norman Katende
UGANDA'S dream of qualifying for the ICC Division II Cricket League might end in tatters after failing to secure transit visas through the United Kingdom.
Despite applying for their visas on March 16, the mandatory 16 working days within which a reply indicating whether they will be able to get a visa or not have passed without any word from the consular office, putting skids on the teams preparations.
The team is due to fly out to Bermuda on April 23rd.
“Yes we are yet to get a word from them (UK Visa office) but we are optimistic that we will get the visas,” Uganda Cricket Association chief executive Justine Ligyalingi downplayed the development.
The association has already written to National Council of Sports, Government and ICC to help with the situation which might leave them relegated to a lower division if they fail to honour their fixtures.
Information available shows that the International Cricket Council has already written to hosts Bermuda for information on the situation and the Ugandan government has been actively involved in trying and see that the team secures the visas.
If they fail, then Uganda will be relegated further to Division IV as they will be declared having finished lowest in the league.
Bermuda chief of Immigration Dr. Danette Ming has already written a letter saying that they received Uganda’s application and were ready to grant the team visas as long as the UK foreign office clears the team.
Efforts to contact the UK Visa office in Kampala were futile.
New Vision Sport can confirm that the foreign ministry has appointed Jackson Abigaba to coordinate efforts to secure the visas.
Uganda has had three visits to the UK for different tournaments and once to Bermuda in 2009 for the ICC Inter-continental Cup. On all occasions, there haven’t been any instances of players defecting.
“With this clean record, I think we have a big base of getting visas,” he said.
Uganda had already purchased air tickets worth almost $40,000 for the contingent of 17, and advancing to Division II will give them access to ICC aid of over $750,000 to help develop the game.
Team Uganda: Roger Mukasa, Jonathan Ssebanja, Arthur Kyobe, Frank Nsubuga (Vice captain), Benjamin Musoke, Laurence Sematimba, Deus Muhumuza, Michael Ndiko, Davis Arinaitwe Karashani (Captain), Charles Waiswa, Richard Okia, Brian Masaba, Henry Ssenyondo, Arthur Ziraba.
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Cricketers face nervous wait for UK visas