By Charles Mutebi
ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier
Uganda v Namibia
TWO years ago, Namibia and Uganda were cricket peers, classmates who sat on the same table in the school cafeteria.
But as the two rivals meet today at the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier in New Zealand, they do so from radically different positions. Namibia have moved up several grades while Uganda have alarmingly stagnated.
By way of proof, Namibia come into this fixture as Group B leaders, four places ahead of Uganda, bottom on the table despite having played a game more. In terms of ambition, Namibia are chasing World Cup qualification, Uganda are merely seeking survival from relegation to the ICC World Cricket League Division 3.
This game does not affect Uganda’s chances of survival. It is the playoff match Uganda will play on Sunday that will be decisive.
By contrast, Namibia need another victory to strengthen their hold on Group B ahead of the Super Six. In other words, look to Uganda’s losing streak at the Qualifier to continue.
Ironically, the man who spearheaded Namibia’s recent impressive improvement is now in charge of Uganda. However, Johan Rudolph has not yet had the desired effect on Uganda six months into his tenure.
As Rudolph told New Vision Sport, “I know Namibia very well,” but whether that knowledge will translate into a win today remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, Uganda’s wicketkeeper Philemon Mukobe has been reprimanded for breaching the ICC code of conduct during the team’s loss to Kenya on Sunday.
Mukobe delayed leaving the wicket after being given caught behind and was found guilty of a Level 1 breach of Article 2.1.3 of the ICC Code of Conduct of Players and Player Support Personnel which relates to “showing dissent at an umpire’s decision during an international match”.
Mukobe admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by match referee Jeff Crowe.