The third edition of the East Africa Competitions came to a close on Sunday, with Ruwenzori Warriors, beating the Ugandan counterparts Nile Knights to win their first ever east Africa Cup. As I had posted earlier, the third edition of the East Africa Competition saw the tournament overhauled and a whole manner of new aspects and principles introduced into the way the competition is run. In brief there was: shifting of the franchise formation from the Provincial bodies to corporates, the compression of the EAPL to one weekend, the exclusion of venues outside of Nairobi from hosting matches in either the Premier League and Cup, and an attempt to expand the EAPL in particular to bring in Tanzania and Rwanda. On the whole, whilst I did nitpick at some of the changes above on the whole I do feel that in the off the field management, the EACCs are mostly headed in the right direction.
On the field, whist I cannot comment the way I would like to on the actual standard of the cricket, it is interesting to note, the extent to which the teams from the ‘weaker’ cricketing nation of Uganda performed so consistently well across the length of the tournament, against the 4 franchises from the ‘stronger’ nations of Kenya. They were both semi-finalists in both the competitions, while Ruwenzori went on to win the 50 overs a side Cup competitions. Although there are plenty of mitigating factors that could be used to explain this phenomenon, that in this edition, indeed over the life of the EACCs the Ugandan franchises have just plainly maintained a higher standard of performance than their Kenyan counterparts is something to be concerned about. By the way did I mention that the Ugandan Franchises are the oldest in the competition, and have remained virtually unchanged since the EACCs were launched in 2011?
As for the future of these tournament, if this year’s editions arte any indicator then I am looking forward to more innovation by Cricket Kenya. Perhaps the Rwandans and Tanzanians might actually show up. Perhaps corporates from places like Nakuru, Mombasa, Eldoret, even Kisumu might grab a franchise or two. Most importantly, we actually see the development of strong national teams in both Kenya and Uganda forged in the fires of the competitions.