JACC Triumphs over Soroti City Cricket Club, secures division one qualification

Man Jose Kayima

In a significant cricket match, JACC triumphed over Soroti City Cricket Club by 58 runs to qualify for the finals and subsequently advance to division one. However, the game raised numerous questions regarding umpiring decisions and the state of JACC as a club.

It is evident that JACC plays all its games at home, ostensibly because it is meant to be a development side. Yet, none of its players are part of the development structures of the Uganda Cricket Association (UCA).

The team largely comprises older players, seemingly in their retirement phase rather than in development. This situation raises concerns about the future of young, school-going cricketers in Jinja and the broader Busoga region.

There is uncertainty about which club will nurture these young talents if JACC remains the primary cricket club.
When JACC moves to division one, a crucial question arises: will they continue playing all their games at home, or will this change?

In the match, Soroti City won the toss and chose to bowl first. Due to several fielding errors and dropped catches, JACC managed to post a total of 214 runs, all out in 50 overs. Soroti City’s chase fell short, as they were bowled out for 156 runs in 40.4 overs.

The game was overshadowed by controversial umpiring decisions that affected its outcome, igniting heated debates among stakeholders. One umpire, a coach for JACC (Mr Elonge Baker Otema), and another, a teacher (Mr Ekwangu Henry) officiating a game involving his students, led to inevitable bias claims. Notably, none of Soroti City Cricket Academy’s six LBW appeals in the first innings were upheld, while JACC received favorable decisions on three out of four appeals in their innings.

The root of these issues lies in the absence of a centralized body to oversee the training, appointment, and regulation of umpires.

This lack of a standardized framework has made umpiring susceptible to inconsistencies, bias, and accusations of incompetence, undermining the integrity of the game and public trust. The fact that the individual responsible for appointing umpires was also a player for JACC further complicated matters, as it was unlikely that umpires would make decisions against their boss Marvin Kitamirike.

Reinstating the umpiring association in Uganda would be crucial in ensuring high standards of officiating. Such an entity would provide training, certification, and continuous professional development for umpires, as well as a formal mechanism for addressing grievances.

By embracing these reforms and incorporating technological advancements, Uganda can ensure fair play, uphold sportsmanship, and enrich the sporting experience for all involved.

Post-match, there were exchanges between players, further questioning the spirit of the game. Addressing these issues is essential for restoring faith in the sport and fostering a positive environment for future cricketers.

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