By Allan Darren Kyeyune
Uganda’s senior men’s cricket coach Laurence Mahatlane is not settling for less. Each passing day, he scripts a new path for the Cricket Cranes.
He is instilling a new culture that involves regular and intense sessions, performance-leaning player selection for contracts and last month, there was the first-ever team bootcamp in Entebbe.
Yesterday, Mahatlane invited Helen Koyokoyo Buteme over to the Cricket Cranes’ training session at Lugogo Oval to improve the physical aspects as the team’s maiden Strength and Conditioning (S & C) coach.
“Laurence thought that I would be able to add something to the Cricket Cranes. He wants them to be fitter, basically better conditioned, stronger, faster,” Buteme said shortly after the workout.
“I saw how much work I have to do. So we had a pretty good session.” Hailing from a rugby background which she has played before at 15s and 7s level, Buteme is selling like a hot pancake. Eight months ago, she was signed up as the S & C coach for Express FC in the Uganda Premier League.
The results in the players’ physique has enormously changed and Express are now title contenders.
The Cricket Cranes have a Tour of Namibia in three weeks’ time as they prepare for the ICC World Cricket Challenge League B in September away in Jersey and Buteme is set to shape them for this. “Some of the stuff was new to the guys and we just went through stuff slowly,” noted Buteme, who holds a Conditioning Coach B licence from Germany’s Leipzig University. “I think they enjoyed it but they have to be careful to balance this because they have a competition soon. I am not going to load their bodies too much. When they come back from Namibia, I will be working with them for longer periods,” added Buteme.
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“It’s an interesting challenge, I do not know anything about cricket. At the end of the day, conditioning is conditioning. It’s about getting players in the best shape to deliver on pitch.”
Another Lawrence in the fray
Meanwhile, former Cricket Cranes’ batsman wicket-keeper Lawrence Ssematimba has this month officially joined Mahatlane’s backroom staff as the second string side – Uganda A – coach. He will be working in tandem with Jackson Ogwang, physio Habiba Anguyo, analyst Alvin Bagaya and psychologist Edgar Kazibwe.
“This came as a surprise. I will improve the players and make Uganda proud in this role, too,” said Ssematimba, who donned the national colours for 16 years. “I would also like to tackle the discipline issue amongst the players of this generation.”