Cricket Without Boundaries volunteer Dave Jepson takes a considered look at the intense media coverage surrounding CWB.


Well, it’s not every day one gets to share the back pages of a national newspaper but today is the day. Nestling alongside a picture of a very unhappy Frenchman showing the thumbs down, presumably as the Gunners slipped to a sickly defeat against Bayern Munich last Wednesday, three members of the CWB gang in Uganda are shown chatting away to a representative of Standard Chartered Bank at the press conference held at the Logogo National Stadium on Thursday. Arsene must have considered himself in honoured company when he picked up his copy of the Saturday Vision (a Ugandan National Daily) in the manager’s office at The Emirates today to find himself on an equal footing with Gavin, Nick and myself. Or maybe not.


However, what this does help to illustrate is that the media work on this trip is every bit as important as the excellent coaching work being achieved. At Logogo were press, radio and television, all keen to hear our story and allow us to put forward our reasons for being in Uganda and the aims we set out to achieve.   There is genuine interest in our journey and the publicity we are gaining can only help to further those aims.

Nor was Logogo a one-off; contacts in Jinja have allowed us to reach a variety of media – three radio stations have entertained and given us valuable and lengthy airtime, and this afternoon a visit to a school for deaf and handicapped children was accompanied by the radio and written press. One could hardly call it a media scrum but it was further evidence of the interest in our story. Of course it helped that we were accompanied by the local MP, Agnes Nabiyre whose foundation we were attending, but nevertheless the sight of a photographer pointing his camera through an elevated window from outside, and snapping away without the slightest idea of what he was taking, gave one an (admitted very limited) idea of the daily pressure the late Princess Diana must have faced. I am pleased to say we did not crumble under the intensity of the ordeal.

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The work has been shared around amongst all team members and this has also helped some of our younger members to gain valuable experience in this arena. Sam, whose ambition to work in radio has been helped by his time behind the microphone, has possibly now spent more time live on air in Uganda than in the UK; Gavin and Sam were invited to record some trails for BabaFM, while Nick has proved a natural. Even Paul overcame his initial nervousness when confronted with Virginia last night and lost his virginity. It was his first time ever behind the microphone.

It has also been extremely useful to have Ephraim and Juma on board to translate for us as necessary. This was particularly borne out at Victoria FM when we spent an hour on a programme conducted in the local patois. The presenter asked Ephraim the question, Ephraim translated into English for our benefit; one us replied and Ephraim translated back. A perfect solution to the age old problem of an Englishman abroad not having the slightest clue what the locals are nattering on about. Except…no-one here has the slightest idea what Ephraim actually says in his reply. So a lengthy answer in response to the question “What is the game of cricket?” and Ephraim could be saying to the masses in Jinja “Dave says he would rather be in the pub having a pint”. I trust this is not the case, but I fear we shall never know.

Not that it has all been sweetness and light in the celebrity world. The Ugandans’ well known ability to ignore anything to do with timekeeping has given us a couple of missed appointments and the eventual cancellation of a further radio interview after three attempts. Still, three out of four ain’t bad.

There is more work to come; A press conference, hopefully involving radio, television and the newspapers is planned for Jinja tomorrow morning (Sunday) and there are further appointments to be kept in Masaka. After a slow start this may turn out to be the most media driven CWB tour in its history.

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All in all then, a hectic schedule of media interviews and message spreading in progress, which can only be of benefit to the aims and ambitions of CWB. I have just one bone to pick with the editor at Saturday Vision. He may think the best way to increase the circulation of his daily newspaper is to include a picture of a Lester Piggott lookalike alongside mine on the back page, and I have no objection to that. He may even think I resemble an axe wielding warrior wearing a horned helmet who has just disembarked from his longboat, and he is entitled to his opinion. But he might at least have spelt my name correctly…Yours in the spotlight DANE JEPSON.