From slums of Kampala to T20 World Cup: Story of Uganda’s inspirational rising stars

NEW DELHI, May 30:

An estimated 60 per cent of Ugandan capital Kampala’s population lives in slums and fast bowler Juma Miyagi is a cult figure in these impoverished areas.
These usually football-loving people would be keenly following him and the Ugandan cricket team’s debut at the ICC T20 World Cup, trying to live a sporting dream through his exploits.
Miyagi grew up in the slums of Naguru, located on the outskirts of Kampala, and two years after representing Uganda at the U-19 level in the Caribbean, the 21-year-old will be shouldering the senior team’s bowling attack at the ICC showpiece that kicks off on June 1.
Uganda qualified for their maiden cricket World Cup last November.
Miyagi, who has 34 wickets in 21 T20 Internationals, grew up in the slums and continues to live there with his family to date.
The same is the case for other T20 World Cup squad members including Simon Ssesazi and travelling reserve Innocent Mwebaze.
They have grown up in areas which lack clean water, sewage systems and have little or no access to health care in poorly constructed pigeonholes that pass for rooms.
Their fellow slum dwellers look up to them as all three of them have given hope to the struggling community.
Their story of hardship even moved Uganda’s Indian head coach Abhay Sharma, who took charge of the team ahead of the ICC event beginning on Saturday.
Sharma is not completely unaware of slums as India has one of Asia’s biggest slums in Dharavi, Mumbai but being in Kampala was eye-opening even for him. (PTI)