Ephraim Batambuze and Juma Gabula are Ugandan Under-19 cricketers who have been travelling around Uganda with Cricket Without Boundaries. Volunteer Freddie Wilde took fifteen minutes out of coaching to talk to the promising young pair about Ugandan cricket and their personal apirations.

So, Juma, can you introduce us to Ugandan cricket?

This is Juma Gabula, Uganda Under 19 player. I am currently training and preparing for an ICC tournament in Nairobi, that is a qualifier.

I want to tell people about my difficulties, how I am supposed to balance it with my studies.

So in Uganda the cricket is not bad. I love the game so much but I don't have that much time to play it. I kind of have to use all I have in my brain, to develop it so hard. And I think it is kind of a problem to me, but I feel that is what I have.

So you have to make a choice between cricket and studies. It is one or the other?

Juma: Yeah, that is true. You have to make a choice. You either do one of them you either play a lot and very well or you are a mediocre player and a wizard in books.

Okay, if you play for Uganda you have an average paid job, but if you have well paid job it is not really possible to play for Uganda?

Juma: That is true. If you play for Uganda you do without everything.

So if you play for Uganda you don't get much money?

Juma: There is not that much money in Uganda. And if you have many injuries you are stuck. It is very difficult for players to sustain that kind of life. So that is a problem for Ugandan's in cricket.

Okay. Moving on to Ephraim; how did you get involved in the game?

Ephraim: I play for a club from my college. I began playing cricket in my primary school a long time back. I was about 8, 9 years old. In Uganda it is very hard to play cricket. There is not enough equipment for us, we have to share with both the old and young.

So it is really hard training in Uganda. No coaches. It is all about you. You have to love the game before you play it here in Uganda. Because there are no facilities.

How many nets do you have in Uganda?

Ephraim: We've only got seven nets in Uganda. Six permanent ones and one temporary.

Okay, so Juma. You're from Jinga?

Juma: I am from Jinga. My first club was SCC. So after one season I went to Rounders, a division one club. I played for it and then my school called me to another club and hoped I could take them also to the first division. I decided to go back to that team and I'm now playing with it and developing some kids there. I have to give them more courage.

So what level do you want to reach? Obviously you've got to decide between cricket and studies, but if you were to play cricket, you want to play for Uganda?

Juma: I want to go as much as possible. Play the game at a very high standard. Because in my heart I have a feeling I am a very good player and I think very positively. I deserve to achieve some good.

Ephraim: Same for me. I have played for many clubs. I am also from Jinga. I would love to play cricket at international level. But obviously in Uganda it is very hard because playing for Uganda doesn't pay much. You have to work hard. You have to get a job, then it's cricket. But then if you work in Uganda its six am till six pm, so no time for cricket any more. No job will allow you time away for cricket.

Okay, so talking about moving forward. How can cricket in Uganda be improved. What is the thing that is missing the most?

Juma: I think two things. Players technique and finance. Because most of the players come around, but don't know what is actually bringing them around. They come up and there brains are off, they have family issues, they've got to consider money, the job also. For cricket they need to be around all the time and this isn't possible here.

The time for the game is very little compared to other countries. So that is a problem.

So you think the Ugandan economy and the cricket finances both need to improve? So jobs offer more money and Ugandan cricket offers more money…

Juma: Yeah, I think that is true. I have a feeling that if it can be sorted out, even the real players need to think hard about what they need and what they don't need at particular times.

Ephraim: Talking about this I would like to personally thank Cricket Without Boundaries because here in Uganda there is no money to support projects like these ones.

Kids are getting crucial time learning the basics with good people. So Cricket Without Boundaries are really bringing something good.

Cricket Without Boundaries help out with children learning cricket and starting to play cricket, but once they've left, Ugandan Cricket needs to continue that. CWB have coached coaches, but money is crucial?

Juma: Yeah, that is the issue now. To continue it is the issue. The reason being the finances are so little.

There's obviously some really talented kids around, so do you think if you got the funding you could be pretty good?

Juma: Yeah, again I agree. The thing in Uganda is that everyone is playing with their heart, even if they don't have that much skill. So a combination of finances and players using their heart could be very great for Ugandan cricket.

So they've got the energy, but they need more coaching?

Juma: Yeah, extra skills from coaching. It can work out for them.

Ephraim: Yeah you say there are loads of good guys and girls who are five, six, seven, but the problem is that the parents discourage them from playing the game. Reason being cricket is not that big in Uganda, so kids will be told to go and read.

What about football, that offers more money?

Ephraim: Well with all sports in Uganda…no money. So even if it's football, rugby, tennis, parents discourage. The money here is too small.

So you guys personally, where are you going from here?

Juma: I've just finished my form six, so I have eighteen months out of education before University.

So this is my best chance to develop my cricket more and have more skills taught to me; I have a real heart for that. One thing I would like to put across to Cricket Without Boundaries is that if they have a chance to please help spread their work out to league games in Uganda for young kids. Tournaments and competitions for Under 15s.

The kids CWB coach are learning the basic stuff and being introduced to the game. Do you think that should be more advanced?

Juma: Yeah. That is what I mean. We need great foundations for Ugandan cricket and if that happens generally Uganda can move up the World Rankings and funding can increase. With those kind of base facilitations, we can move in a positive way.

Ephraim: After CWB leave I go back to University. Because even now with CWB I've had to study in the evenings because I'm missing work at University. In terms of cricket I have league games on Saturday, I go for training and help with more coaching after class.

So you are both still young, Juma 17, Ephraim 19, you seem to be trying to help others as much as your own careers, is that right?

Juma: That is true because if we spread awareness of the game and spread it to many different areas, and allow people to learn about the game, less parents will discourage kids from cricket and there will hopefully end up with more money in Ugandan cricket.That is my positive thinking about the game.

The position of Ugandan cricket means that I need to help others to benefit myself.

Ephraim: I think coaching people has really pushed me to another level. I have learnt from coaching for my cricket and for my coaching.

Also the friends you have in Ugandan cricket are for me, very important motivators, so coaching can help create that bigger circle of players and friends for all cricket players in Uganda. That will push us to another level.

Okay, so what is your drive to play cricket?

Juma: For me it is something to do with the heart.

I have played the game willingly from my heart. I have felt it when I have been at different matches. I feel my heart can take me to a high level.

I have tried many sports, but with cricket the brains I have used and where I have reached in a short space of time – I have a talent. So I feel good about anything to do with cricket.

Ephraim: I have got a lot in cricket. I have a feeling that if I can pass that on to other kids, you never know how far they can go…

Juma: I would like again to appreciate Cricket Without Boundaries, and kind of try to call out for more nations to come and coach more kids. If you support someone talented and you pick him up, it will be a great thing in his career, and maybe, somewhere, somehow, he will do something big and feel grateful to you and appreciate everything you have done…