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March 23, 2009
Junior Kwebiha, the Uganda captain, has singled out earning ODI status as his team's main objective going into the World Cup Qualifiers set to begin on April 1 in South Africa. Uganda qualified for the tournament after finishing second in division three of the World Cricket League after table-toppers Afghanistan. The top six teams in the World Cup Qualifiers secure ODI status till 2013 and earn an immediate qualification for the ICC Intercontinental Cup in 2009-10.
"One of the things that is very important to us is to get ODI status and if we get in the top six we will achieve that," Kwebiha said. "I am not saying we won't be trying to get into the top four and qualify for the World Cup - we fully intend to do that - but to get into the top six would be a very big achievement for us and that is where we are putting our focus."
Uganda's World Cricket League campaign included four wins - including those against Afghanistan and Hong Kong - and their only defeat came against Papua New Guinea, who, as a result of a lower net run-rate, failed to qualify.
"We have taken a good look at what happened in Buenos Aires," Kwebiha said. Despite coming second there are quite a lot of things from that tournament that we have to work on… We know that a lot of the future development of cricket in Uganda is going to depend on our performance in South Africa so it is very important to us.
"Coming through the divisions, Afghanistan and ourselves are going to have to work harder because we haven't been exposed to this level of cricket as often as the others in the tournament. We know it's not going to be a walk in the park as some of the teams have professional players in the teams."
Kwebiha was upbeat about Uganda's chances but said he wary of the fact that his team would have to encounter stiffer opposition, including those who it hasn't played before.
"We just have to take it a step at a time and see how it goes from there. There is an element of surprise I suppose in that the other teams will not know too much about us but then we haven't played against them either so we are going to be just as surprised as they are. It only takes one good ball to get a batsman out and as bowlers we know we just have to put the ball in the right areas.
We don't see ourselves as underdogs really. We don't approach events in that way. We know what our abilities are, we know what our strengths are and we will just go out there and play our own game. We are trying to get into the culture of going out there and taking control of games and playing to our strengths."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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