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News: The missing Uganda players….

A strange piece of news came out from the WCL Div 3. Uganda, the champions, returned home without 2 players, who have disappeared in Australia.

There are instances of things like this when sporting teams from developing countries end up touring a developed country and suddenly some players go missing. Hardly anyone plays baseball in Pakistan, and till about 10 years ago, Pakistan baseball teams were notorious to go on a tour, and then disappear before playing any game. The most popular theory around such incidents was that the teams did not consist of players at all, but people who paid the officials to select them and somehow get them into the US, or some other country. From there they would start off a new life as illegal immigrants.

The situation is not like that for the Uganda players. First of all, the players disappeared AFTER winning the tournament. So they may just be staying back in Australia to play cricket professionally? Why couldnt they attempt that through proper channels? Why wouldnt they notify their board if these were the intentions? Why just disappear?

What I find surprising is that, despite Cricket not being a high profile sport in Uganda, it definitely has a following of at least 30K people. So, it is by no means comparable to baseball in Pakistan. Cricket is somewhat in the news over there as well. The cricket body gets enough money from the ICC, given Uganda’s economy, to run a professional body properly. It is in these circumstances that it is a little odd that these 2 players are now missing.

Perhaps, these 2 will return to Uganda before their visa expires. But I would think that if those were the intentions, then they would have notified their board.

In any case, this is a terrible precedent set by Uganda.

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Categories: Uganda
  1. Frank Farchione, Melbourne, Australia
    June 8, 2007 at 3:00 am

    Nasir,

    How do you know about this?

  2. Roland Ilube
    June 8, 2007 at 3:05 am

    Nasir,

    This is unfortunately not without precedent. Without naming names, I know of a number of ex-Nigerian cricketers who took the opportunity afforded by a cricket tour to carve out a new life in countries which they felt afforded better economic prospects. I suspect that this is what may have happened with these young Ugandan boys, although for a number of reasons which I won’t delve into here it seems to me a misguided move on their part.

    The pity is as you say, the impact this has on future tournaments. In the ICC trophy in 2001, the West African team did not take part because the Canadian immigration authorities refused initially to issue visas to the entire squad. Although this decision was eventually reversed after the intervention of the ICC, by then the team had already missed two matches and the decision was taken by the West African team not to participate. Incidents like this one involving the Ugandan boys will make a repetition of such an unfortunate outcome more likely in the future

  3. Roland Ilube
    June 8, 2007 at 3:07 am

    Frank,

    it has been widely reported in the Ugandan press, and on a number of cricket websites

  4. June 8, 2007 at 4:32 am

    Roland,

    What surprises me the most is that these were players from Uganda…… if it were a affiliate thrid world country where 500 people played cricket, it would have been one thing.

    Profile of cricket in Nigeria may be comparable with profile of baseball in Pakistan….. but I was under the impression that not only was the profile of cricket higher in Uganda than this, but also the board had some funding…..

    In any case, I dont know what the Ugandan players are upto, but I think illegally staying in Australia may be a little tough. This is given the fact that there may not be that many black players in Australia, and more importantly, the immigration authorities have all their information, passport pics and fingerprints, on hand….

  5. Roland Ilube
    June 8, 2007 at 5:57 am

    Nasir,

    Although there is something in what you say about Cricket being a more high-profile sport in Uganda than in Nigeria, it is all a question of economic prospects. The last time I was in Kenya, from talking to some of the players in the national squad, you would be unpleasantly surprised at the amount of money that they were getting for representing their country. I suspect that the amount that the Ugandan players get is not as much as you may imagine.

    Still, I agree with you that Australia is a difficult place for 2 young Ugandans to “disappear” in, so let us hope that we are being unduly pessimistic, and that the boys will resurface before their visas run out. By the way, I believe that Patrick Ochan is also an international tennis player, having represented Uganda in the Davis cup, so I would have thought that all in all it would be a bit premature for him to be burning all his bridges home.

  6. fred
    June 12, 2007 at 10:57 pm

    They have applied too stay. Dont know under what category of visa they will apply, but I ‘m not sure they will succeed.
    http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/ugandan-cricketers-to-apply-to-stay/2007/06/12/1181414299991.html

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