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INSIGHT: UCA Victoria Pearls in Botswana

Edgar Kazibwe, an equitysport mentee and aspiring sports psychologist based in Kampala, Uganda recently toured with the Uganda Victoria Pearls, the National Women's Cricket Team.

Here, Edgar shares his personal reflections of the tour and some insights into his ongoing pursuit of a career in what remains a fledgling sector in East Africa with the support of equitysport.

Words by Edgar Kazibwe. Photos by Edgar Kazibwe, Denis Musali, and the UCA.

This is my experience as an aspiring sport psychologist on my first tour with the Victoria Pearls - the Ugandan National women's Cricket Team.

First of all, I feel lucky and honoured to be in this kind of position. It has been countless months of preparation and finally the 2021 ICC Africa T20 Women's World Cup Qualifiers in Botswana happened.

I remember before the Kwibuka tournament which was cancelled due to several COVID-19 cases within the travelling contingent to Rwanda, I had considerably felt I had offered as much support as I could with respect to the period I had spent with the ladies at training.

During the Easter period, I also can't forget working with Soroti Cricket Academy graduates, an institution I think is one that is going to keep producing some of the finest Cricketers in Uganda. Anyway, all I am trying to say is that all couldn't have gone any better ahead of the Gaborone event.

Working with the ladies was envisaged by some to be quite daunting but I really enjoy it. We quickly transitioned into the bio-bubble, and I felt they really coped well. There were minimal qualms, smooth acclimatisation and before long the final team got announced by the selectors.

Catching flights for the second time in my life was surreal to be honest. I will have to credit whoever organised the sitting arrangements. I had quite a laugh with Team Manager Lwiza Nabulwala and Media Manager Denis Musali as you have probably seen in some photographs.

COVID-19 awareness, testing before departure and on arrival in Gaborone was somewhat inconveniencing but worth it anyway. I didn't feel anxious going into the tournament, in fact I knew we were the team to beat.

My first sight of Botswana was the scanty flora. Dry and thorny trees and a lot of sand dominated my bird's eye view before landing at the quiet Sir Seretse Khama International Airport.

Huge credit for ICC for spotting a good hotel - Avani, just a couple of minutes away from the Cricket Ovals. It was such a relief to travel short distances for the games and back with tight Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that kept team Uganda COVID-19 free.

Tournament proper, we lost to Namibia for our first game. Lots of positives were registered though especially for the fact that the ladies had last played an international match about 2 years ago. I felt most of the team psychological KPIs were ticked.

Great reflection thereafter meant better preparation for the next games against Nigeria, Cameroon and Sierra Leone. Probably the costliest loss of the tournament was Zimbabwe's 14 run over us.

And even though we really wanted to bounce back by defeating Tanzania in the 3rd place playoff, the ladies suffered a host of dropped catches, also having quickly lost all their wickets in the first innings.

I felt there is a lot more work to do with the ladies in terms of developing skills necessary to step up their performances but huge progress there was in assertiveness, goals setting, reflection and so much more.

On a personal level, I clearly learned why there are huge disparities in performances at home during the trial games and at international level. This informed my next course of action with a goal of preparing the ladies better for future engagements.

I couldn't have learned all this without a tour with the ladies. Therefore I'm crediting the Uganda Cricket Association, equitysport and my mentors, Hannah Stoyel and Serena MacLeod in equipping me through my ongoing mentorship and facilitation is paramount.

We received a warm welcome on return back home after finishing 4th and I have since continued to reflect with intentions of delivering better but raising the bar of preparation for more engagements.

One of the other highlights of the tournament was the appreciation of team Uganda having a Psychologist on tour. Many officials who saw me donning a jacket with "Psychologist" at the back felt we were already in the future of women's cricket on the African continent.

Overall, I felt it was quite an experience with as many lessons as possible. For a first tour as an aspiring Psychologist, all my work can only get better in preparation for the same or even greater.


Edgar Kazibwe is currently enrolled on both an equitysport mentorship and a job creation programme run in partnership with the Ugandan Cricket Association to build capacity across fledgling sectors in sport, and create sustainable jobs through sport.

Edgar is currently mentored by Dr Hannah Stoyel PhD of Swim England and Optimise Potential and Serena MacLeod of Reading FC and Optimise Potential in the UK.

As a human-first organisation, our capacity building programmes centre around education, vocational training and continued professional development for individuals, groups and organisations operating in some of the most under-served communities in the sporting world for the benefit of the public at large.

Our mentorship and internship programmes work with local partners across the Global South with a particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa. Our team at equitysport match those aspiring or already working at all levels of sport in low-income countries with highly experienced and accomplished mentors from around the world.

Find out more about the programme HERE.


equitysport is a UK-registered values-based international charity (1189559) that exists to advance and promote equality, diversity and equal opportunity in and through global sport. Through free-form development, targeted advocacy, vocational training and education programmes the charity seeks an inclusive and equitable sporting ecosystem that lives up to the true ideals of sport.

Notes to Editors: For interviews or further comment, please contact the team via:

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