By Denis Musali 

The search for a new coach for the Cricket Cranes ended with the unveiling of Lawrence Mahatlane. Mahatlane joins the cricket cranes set up on a three-year deal and his work starts immediately. The former Cricket South Africa U-19 coach has a wealth of experience dealing with youngsters and is excited to be joining the cricket cranes. 

We caught with the new coach for a quick chat. 

Qn: What motivated you to apply for the Cricket Uganda job? 

Ans: After 24 years of coaching at all levels in SA, I felt this was the right time to take a step in a different direction. Uganda was very appealing. The first time I came across their U19 team was in the late ’90s and watching their athleticism in the field I started following Uganda cricket. Moving on from my previous post-Uganda became my first choice from the options I had.

Qn: What have you heard about the game in Uganda?

Ans; I have followed the team for a while and I believe there are some good youngsters that could play for the national team. Within the senior team, there are some good solid players who can take the team to the next level.

Qn:  What are some of the short and long term goals for the team?

Ans: The key in the short term will be how to maintain top performances and individual players becoming a lot more consistent. Hoping that if this is achieved we can then set our sights to follow the steps taken by teams such as Bangladesh and Afghanistan in the future. They came from association cricket to be where they are today.

Qn: What is your philosophy of coaching and managing teams? 

Ans: Empowering players to be the best they can be in all that they do. Allowing players to grow and understand that they need to back themselves. Mistakes are part of the game so never let fear hold you back.

Qn: Associate cricket is tough, every event is life and death. How well do you think the team needs to prepare? 

Ans: I have always believed that preparation should be tougher than the contest. So I believe that we will all be putting in the hard yards to make sure we can perform to the best of our abilities during tournaments.

Qn: Coming from a structured environment what lessons do you bring to Uganda Cricket? 

Ans: Having been in professional coaching for a while, I have seen how the game has evolved and how coaching has also had to change. I hope to help everyone realize the importance of professionalism in all you do.

Qn: What would be your win with Uganda Cricket after three years?

Ans: There are a few things that I believe we can be judged on. Consistency in performance, growth of youngsters into the national team will be the two at the top of my list. From a team point of view, there has to be a shared vision of what we would like to achieve.

Qn: Finally, share your social handles for the fans back home to follow you.

Ans: Not much of a social man. I think I only post twice a year. I will be happy to contribute and avail myself on the UCA platforms