Way before the crowing night, it was a public secret that Roger Mukasa would win the Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) men’s MVP award.
And when it did happen, the Cricket Cranes and Tornado B top-order batsman received the loudest of chants in acknowledgment as he made his way to the podium at Lugogo Indoor Stadium on Thursday night.
“I worked so hard to attain this feat,” a thrilled Mukasa told Saturday Monitor moments after he had beaten Jonathan Ssebanja and Nanji Pindoriya to receive his diadem from chief guest Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda at the glamorous UCA awards gala.
It was totally unthinkable for Ssebanja and Pindoriya to upstage Mukasa. He simply had an incredible season with both club and country.
Mukusa opened the season with 95 runs in four innings at the January ICC World Cup qualifiers in New Zealand but had to sit out for two months thereafter with a shoulder injury.
He returned with the best batting figures of 534 runs from nine innings as his club Tornado B successfully defended their Division One National 50-Over League title.
Mukasa transformed his club form to the national team as his tally of 265 runs (six innings) and 13 wickets helped Uganda finish second at the ICC World Cricket League Division III in Malaysia. The performance earned him the tournament MVP honour and propelled Uganda to Division II.
“I must say this is my best year since the start of my cricket career,” the 25-year-old Mukasa said. “Right now, everyone sees me as a star but the biggest challenge for me lies in keeping that status. I am just going to work harder and carry on the same form to next year.”
Mukasa’s focus ahead of January’s ICC WCL Division II showpiece in Namibia only coincided with Rugunda’s speech. “I salute all the winners. Winning once must provoke you to win more,” Rugunda, a former Busoga College Mwiri student, said before assuring the cricket fraternity of government support. “Cricket has been promoting the name of Uganda on the international scene. So no government can afford to ignore this form of excellence.”
In the ladies’ category, Jinja SS’ Damalie Busingye beat best upcoming female cricketer Patricia Malmekia, national captain Naome Kayondo and Franklyn Najjumba to the MVP award. Busingye helped her side to win the Schools Cricket Week and Mehta T20 Premier League titles.
Jinja SS’ Habibu Mugalula, who was badly injured in a road accident in September, got some consolation as he was named coach of the year.
2014 UCA AWARDS
Best Groundsman: Julius Bukulu
Best Umpire: Eric Wandera
Best Volunteer: Felix Musana
Best Team Manager: Rodney Mugisha
Best Coach: Habibu Mugalula
Best Upcoming Female Cricketer:
Best Female Cricketer: Damalie Busingye
Best Male Cricketer: Roger Mukasa
PAST OF MALE MVP WINNERS
2012: Benjamin Musoke
2013: Nicholas Kebba
2014: Roger Mukasa
SOURCE: Daily Monitor