Kebba, Kyobe win big at cricket awards
By Charles Mutebi
Uganda cricket shared the same platform for a change on Thursday
Uganda Olympic Committee chief William Blick hands over a trophy to
captain of Wanderers, the best women’s team for the year 2013.
Thanks to the UCA awards, held at the MTN Arena to
celebrate the best of the 2013 season, local cricket finally ended a
spell of consistent bad news that has run for nearly two months. Still,
there was a touch of irony in the destiny of the ceremony’s two biggest
awards. Nicholas Kebba was named player-of-series for the 2013 Multiple
Industries Cricket League Division 1 after his eye-catching exploits
helped Tornado B win their maiden national title.
Kebba beat Arthur Kyobe to the prestigious award but the
Tornado opener won the next big thing —best batsman. Kyobe amassed a
league-best 461 runs, a whole 102 runs ahead of second place, who
happened to be Kebba.
Apart from dominating the night, Kyobe and Kebba (who
also claimed best wicketkeeper award with a league-best 22 dismissals),
had one other critical thing in common. Neither was part of Uganda’s ICC
Cricket World Cup Qualifier in New Zealand.
The reasons for their absence were different - Kyobe was
controversially dropped from the team for disciplinary reasons while
Kebba has never really been considered due to his hectic work schedule
as a full-time lawyer. Nevertheless, no one wants to see the best
players in the league failing to make the national team. After all, of
what purpose is the national league if not to groom players for
“For the past six years, if you look at the top batsmen
in the league, many of them have not been part of the national team,”
The amateur nature of the local league cricket
occasionally leaves the selectors’ hands tied because on the one hand,
they want to call up the best players in the league but on the other,
they want to have players who can commit to national team training
sessions. But for players with rewarding jobs in corporate Uganda,
giving them up to chase a cricket career with small to no financial
benefits is not an option.
“I have been called up for national team trials on
various occasions,” revealed Kebba. “But I have been forced to pull out
because of school and work commitments.” Kebba explained that he would
have loved to be part of the national team during last year but, he
added, “I would have only been available on my terms ”
Kebba attributed his performances last season to the
wisdom of old age that is more valuable in cricket than many other
sports. “The game becomes easier as you age,” he said. “I am elated for
winning these awards. I have come close a number of times and winning
player-of-series is a goal I have always had so I thank my team-mates
for helping me achieve it.”
Thirteen other cricketers from the major three leagues
also received trophies.
Challengers’ Uganda international tennis and cricket player Daniel
Ruyange claimed Multiple Industries Cricket League Division 2
player-of-series, while Damalie Busingye took the corresponding award in
the women’s national league.