Victoria Pearls vice captain Janet Mbabazi will once again lead the Sipi Trekkers as they seek to defend the Waterfalls Elite League title they won last year.
The Waterfalls League returns with what promises to be another exciting edition with new international faces drafted into various teams.
Defending champions Sipi Trekkers who had Kenyan Vanessa Adhiambo and Sarah Uwera from Rwanda in their squad last edition have bowling all-rounder Lavender Idhambo from Kenya and batting all-rounder Josiane Nyirankundineza (Rwanda) in the team this time around.
The Trekkers bagged the title after beating Itanda Kayakers by 21 runs in the final, but like their opponents, they were not invincible in the round robin stage as they lost two games enroute to the final.
With the versatility that the two bring, Mbabazi’s team will seek nothing but to defend the title.
Sipi Trekkers will be under the guidance of Ivan Kakande as coach, and added to the international talent, Maria Nyende Kagoya- who turned up for Bujagali Rafters last year, Patricia Apolot, Rachel Achan, Asimin Akurut are the new faces that will feature for the side.
Last year’s losing finalists Itanda Kayakers have a change in leadership. The side was captained by Rwandese skipper Diane Marie Bimenyimana last year, but it will in this edition be under the leadership of Victoria Pearls all-rounder Rita Musamali.
Of the three teams, Itanda appeared the least star studded last year, but they turned out to be a team to beat. Their batting however, failed them in the final as they failed to chase the 97 runs the Trekkers set.
It is no different this year! The side is dominated by youngsters. Lorna Anyait, Malisa Ariokot, Agnes Nakakande, Naome Amongin have all been drafted into this team.
Nonetheless, given the undeniable talent in these youngsters, Habib Mugalula, the coach, will have faith in his team.
Sarah Etim and Favour Esiegbe from Nigeria and Immaculate Muhawenimana from Rwanda are the international stars that will feature for the side.
Like Mbabazi, Consy Aweko, the captain of the Victoria Pearls will lead the side she captained last year.
Aweko’s Bujagali had been looked at as a title favourite in 2023, but even with Evelyn Anyipo, former Victoria Pearls captain Immaculate Nakisuyi, Sarah Akiteng, Naome Kayondo and Veronica Abuga from Kenya turning up for the team, the side failed to make the finals.
They return this time hoping to better last year’s performance. At their disposal are serious additions including Nigerian superstar Lucky Piety, Kenya’s Faith Kiara Muthoni and U19 girls captain Jimia Mohammed.
National team all-rounder Phiona Kulume who played for Sipi Trekkers in the inaugural edition will also turn up for them so will Susan Kakai who was at Itanda last year.
Proscovia Alako, the national team opening batter struggled for runs for majority of last year. She will hope to regain her mojo in this tournament. Alako took the Elite League by storm last year as she emerged as the MVP of the tournament.
The opener in Itanda’s opening game against Sipi Trekkers knocked 80 not out. She finished the tournament with 191 runs, 99 more than the person placed second, but 2023 didn’t turn out very well for her. She will hope for the best as she seeks to lead her Itanda Kayakers team to glory.
The tournament bowls off on 1st February and it will run up untill 4th.
Janet Mbabazi (C), Gloria Obukor, Kevin Awino (WK), Patricia Timong, Irene Alumo, Josiane Nyirankunineza, Stephanie Nampiina, Maria Nyende Kagoya, Asimin Akurut, Apolot Patricia, Yaya Helen, Rita Nyangendo, Lavender Idhambo, Rachel Achan.
Rita Musamali (C), Esther Iloku (WK), Proscovia Alako, Whitney Nassuna, Hope Mbeiza, Agnes Nakakande, Lorna Anyait, Malisa Ariokot, Sarah Etim, Naome Amongin, Patricia Malemekia, Favour Esiegbe, Immaculate Muhawemimana, Immaculate Nandera
Consy Aweko (C), Faith Kiara Muthoni (WK), Sarah Walaza, Phiona Kulume, Jimia Mohammed, Susan Kakai, Lucky Piety, Sandra Acwao, Naome Bagenda, Immaculate Nakisuyi, Irene Mutoni, Sarah Akiteng, Kevin Amuge, Evelyn Anyipo.