The Sport programme encompasses all of our sporting projects and developments:
- National Participation
- Equipment Drives
- Individual Player Sponsorship
1. Cricket Background:
UCTF has it’s own cricket club (C.C.), with both a men’s and a women’s team. The club is designed to give a chance to young and underprivileged players to compete in the National leagues.
Women's Cricket: Our Women’s Cricket Team was started in 2009. The purpose of the team was to provide girls from poor backgrounds with a safe, enjoyable and productive environment in which to develop their cricket. The girls are mostly aged between 12-19. They train three times/ week, and compete in the National Women’s Cricket League at the weekends. In its short life, the club has been extremely successful and the girls have annually won competitions, including the National League/T20 Cup double in 2012. Many of our girls have also played for the Uganda National Team at different National events U-17, U-19 until the senior National team.
The club prides itself in bringing up younger players to reach the national level. Our girls cricket team put on a good show in 2015 and they finished third in the Women’s National Cricket League, this was particuarly impressive given most of the team had only just been introduced to the sport.
Men's Cricket: The men's cricket team was formed in 2006 and the team started playing in the second division of the National League. They emerged winners of Division two in 2010, with an average playing age of 17 and were promoted to Division one. We have had many boys represent Uganda at different National Team levels U-17, U-19 until the senior National team. We currently have 3 of our members playing for the Ugandan senior National cricket team and 3 of our boys represented Uganda at the Under 19 cricket World cup qualifiers in Malaysia.
The club’s coach/player Jonathan Sebanja also had an opportunity to play cricket (June-September 2015 & 2016) for Yateley Cricket Club and for the WPP and he put up an incredible performance. UCTF scholars represented Uganda at Under 19 at the the ICC Africa 2015 tournament in Tanzania where they finished 2nd out of 6 countries. Lawrence Sempijja and Derrick Bakunzi made their first debut on the Ugandan senior National team that represented Uganda at the ICC T20 Afrcian Zone WC qualifiers that were held in South Africa in 2015. Henry Senyondo and Jonathan Sebanja UCTF Alumni’s were also part of the team.
We also had 3 of our cricket boys Zephenia Arinaite, Simon Oketcho and Francis Akakwansa represent Uganda Under 19 at the the ICC Under 19 World Cup qualifiers in Lumar, Malaysia. The club not only serves as a development programme for bringing through new talents, but also as a platform for our best players to refine their game. UCTF C.C. has also been responsible for the introduction of cricket to two schools in 2010, both schools qualified for the National Schools Cricket Tournament.
What makes our programme different? The success of the club is not only measured in trophies. First and foremost, the UCTF C. C. is a social project. The majority of our children have had difficult personal backgrounds; all the trophies aside, the club has provided them with a healthy, happy place to pursue their talents, form friendships, and also develop teamwork and leadership skills.
Case Study of a Player: Simon Ssesazi, age: 20, dependants: Mother, Hellen Tumushabe, lives: Namuggongo, current situation: graduated from A-levels end of last year, waiting on National exam results which come back in March and will hopefully join University in August.
"Before I joined UCTF our family was in a bad situation; our father had died so we had no one to take care of us. I went to school but there was a problem with the payment of school fee as we were renting, so any money paid for our rent and there was no money to pay the school fees. UCTF provided an opportunity of paying my school fees and this helped me to carry on with my studies; I have finished my high school education, this has improved my career prospects. UCTF also helped me improve my talent in sports like cricket which has given me the opportunity to travel to different countries around the world and currently I am playing for the Ugandan National cricket team. UCTF should continue to gain support and sponsor children through education and sports because it helps us realise and achieve success helping us to have better prospects for the future. My ambitions are to finish my studies, find a good job and be able help other young children in all aspects of life.”
Our coaches: Jonathan Sebanja assisted by Lawrence Ssempijja.
Jonathan was just 7 when his father died. Being one of 7 children, his mother was unable to continue paying school fees and so, at the age of 9, he was forced to drop out of school. He filled his days by going down to the local tennis club at Lugogo Stadium where he earned money working as a ball boy. It quickly became apparent that Jonathan was an exceptional sportsman and played tennis for Uganda’s U16 and U19 team as well as cricket as an U19. He is currently Uganda’s opening bowler and scored the fastest century in Ugandan history off just 35 balls in a T20 match. Jonathan has recently been appointed as Coach of the Ugandan Ladies National Team by the Ugandan Cricket Association.
Lawrence lost his father to HIV/AIDS when he was very young. He and his eight siblings were supported by their mother who was also living with HIV. Lawrence's father had been a casual laborer at the sports center but his income could not support his children through school. The family had to survive on one meal a day not knowing when they'd get their next. Lawrence became involved with UCTF when he offered his services as a ball boy at the premises where his father worked and was identified for his huge passion for cricket and tennis. Lawrence now plays for the National cricket team.
Why we need support:
1. Corporate sponsorship for cricket is still lacking with the exception of Indian owned companies that tend to support their own participating teams (which take up the majority of subscribing teams in Uganda).
2. Popularity of the sport among the local population is very low, and therefore funding through any form of local campaigning would present a huge challenge.
3. Through Cricket, we have developed goodwill ambassadors across the globe in Canada, Australia and the UK linking cricket communities and helping us to raise awareness and support of our programmes.
4. The UCTF team provides a great platform for young talented children who would otherwise not have a chance to play or develop their skills.
5. The UCTF team has developed national team players throughout the different National team categories namely; Senior National team, National Under-19 and Under-15 across the boys' and girls' teams. In any given National team squad, UCTF has had at least 2 or more members for the last 5 years or more.
6. The UCTF team helps to ensure members can still play sport, in particular cricket, without compromising on their academics. In Uganda giving girls this opportunity in particular, keeps them safe from rife sexual exploitation and a severe lack of future prospects.
2. Our Tennis Activities:
We run weekly tennis clinics at our partner schools which allow children the opportunity to play tennis and improve their skills. We host holiday tennis clinics during school term holidays in Kampala and they are free of charge for all children from the age of 5-16years. We provide the coaches, water and equipment at the programmes. We also run a National school’s tennis tournament annually which gives all schools in Uganda a chance to compete against other schools. Our National tournament hosts, on average,35 schools’ from all over the country.
Our Tennis Programme Achievements:
More than 1,800 vulnerable children have been introduced to tennis and empowered withskills through our tennis clinics and weekend coaching clinics. 14 of our Scholars have previously represented, or currently play for, Uganda internationally. (39 of our Scholars have done so at a Junior Level.) 2 of our members (David Oringa and Lawrence Sempijja) managed to earn themselves academic scholarships at Uganda Chiristian University as a result of their tennis achievements. UCTF has received a lot of publicity through it’s tennis programmes. We get media coverage in newspapers and on television during the time of our programmes. UCTF has stregthened it’s relationship with the Uganda Tennis Association through it’s programmes. It has enabled us to work together on developing the sport in the country. The UCTF tennis program is also a social project. Most of the children involved in our holiday programmes have highly challenging personal circumstances. It is most important that we continue to provide them with a healthy, happy place to pursue their talents, form friendships, and develop teamwork and leadership skills. We have been able to achieve all this mostly due to the excellent relationship we have with the Ugandan Tennis Association who shares the same goal of promoting the game of tennis in Uganda and giving children an opportunity to grow their talents.
3. National Participation:
• In cricket our men’s team have returned to the 1st league.
• We run a National school’s tennis tournament annually which gives all schools in Uganda a chance to compete against other schools. Our National tournament hosts, on average,35 schools’ from all over the country.
4. Equipment Drives:
We are always in need of equipment: racquets, balls, strings, nets, pads, sportswear, trainers. Many thanks to existing partners who have kept up the supply.
5. Individual Player Sponsorship:
We invest in our young talents like our own member David Oringa a tennis player whose best world ranking in 2013 was number 1494 and currently ranked as the second best tennis player in Uganda. He is also the youngest ever Ugandan player to win the Uganda Tennis Open in 2012 at the age of 19. He was also the semi-finalist at the Kenyan Open 2015 and runner up at the doubles finals, Quarter finalist at the 2014 ITF Cat tournament in Rwanda. Runners up at the final of the 2012 Simba Cement Tanzania Open, 2010 Junior Olympics Quarter-Finalist, 2009 Africa Under-16s Tennis Cup Champion, 2008 Uganda Schools Under-16s Champion and has been on a tour this year to Egypt, Nigeria, Singapore and participated at the recent All Africa Games 2015 is Brazzaville. Outside of tennis, David is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at Uganda Christian University. He also gives back to the community by providing free coaching to the children through our coaching clinics.