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OPINION: Elite League a great advert for Uganda Cricket Association

As other sports organizations grapple with how to survive in the new normal, the Uganda Cricket Association was brave enough to learn on the job by organizing an elite league tournament.

The competition featured three teams made up of the best 45 players on the local circuit.

Each franchise was also assigned a team coach to make sure that players are guided and not just going through the motions.

All players and coaches had to do the mandatory COVID-19 test before being put in a bubble.

The action was for seven days, but rain ruined the final two days.

None the less, the five days gave hungry fans something to chew on. The games also had a live stream on YouTube for fans to follow since there were no fans allowed in Lugogo.

This was a brave gesture from Uganda Cricket Association who set the benchmark on how to host events under the new guidelines.

The lessons are plenty with the education of players on how to behave in the new environment on and off the field as well as how to handle fans and media interested in covering these games.

The lessons are also many for the sports ruling body National Council of Sports as regards to where intervention should be focused on sports entities.

The tournament though was not an inclusive one with UCA focusing on core players especially those that make up their senior and junior national teams.

This leaves out more than 80% of the cricket fraternity that competes with local cricket clubs. Can this be done for our local league going forward? Because the cost for having such a tournament is not cheap. Local clubs are already burdened with looking after players, therefore taking care of all required SOPs might be very costly for these clubs. I foresee a delayed return of the local league while associations wait on the new SOPs to be relaxed a lot more.

None the less, a short impactful tournament like the elite league has given UCA a lot of value in terms of coverage and also agenda setting something that Uganda Cricket Association has been shy about.

By Denis Musali

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