SPORTS

THE JOURNEY OF THE VICTORIA PEARLS TO GLOBALS

Emmanuel Sebowa

The Victoria Pearls, Uganda’s esteemed women’s cricket team, garnered immense support from fans at the beginning of 2023 due to their outstanding performances.

Their victories at the second edition of the Victoria Series on home ground, triumph in the Capricorn series in Namibia, and reaching the finals of the 2023 Kibwika tournament in Rwanda as runners-up marked an impressive streak.

With a dream ahead of them, the team meticulously prepared under the guidance of coaches Lawrence Ssempija and Ssematimaba, supported wholeheartedly by the Uganda Cricket Association.

Their preparation culminated in a ten-day residential camp in Jinja, focusing on both physical and mental readiness.

Participating in the 2023 ICC Women’s T20 Africa World Qualifiers held at the Entebbe Cricket Oval in December, Uganda competed against seven other countries.

Placed in Group B alongside Rwanda, Namibia, and Nigeria, Uganda secured victories in all matches, comfortably leading the group and advancing to the semifinals against Tanzania, the second-placed team in Group A.
In the crucial semifinal against Tanzania, Uganda was sent in to bat first after losing the toss. Stephanie Nampina’s stellar performance, scoring a half-century (51 off 53), accompanied by Rita Musamali’s contribution (35 off 48), propelled Uganda to a total of 99/4.

Musamali, a crucial figure, shone again during Uganda’s fielding innings, taking three wickets and securing Uganda’s place in the finals.

Despite Tanzania’s efforts, they fell short in the chase, managing only 89 runs, leading to Uganda’s victory by a margin of 10 runs. As the finals against Zimbabwe unfolded, Uganda faced the challenge of batting first after losing the toss, managing a total of 79/10. Zimbabwe successfully chased down the target with four wickets lost, clinching the Qualifiers’ victory.

This marked a historic moment for young players with ambitious aspirations, propelling Uganda to the global qualifiers for the World Cup scheduled in Dubai early this year. Remarkably, this is Uganda’s second qualification for the global stage, having previously achieved this feat in 2018.

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