An afternoon of nostalgia at the Lugogo cricket oval. Cricket royalty has assembled to honor an icon.
From the forefathers of the sport like Steven Luswata and Bob Kisubi to more recent ones like former captain Akbar Baig and Guy Kimbowa, the Bagurusi, as they are famously known, flocked the oval to enjoy the gentleman’s game one more time.
This time not to compete but rather to honor a colleague, John Nagenda. In his absence, as he fights for his life on a sickbed, Nagenda is eulogized by the cricket fraternity.
A right-arm fast-medium bowler in his days, Nagenda was unplayable.Stephen Luswata who played with him reflects on their active years
“John Nagenda was indeed strong without trying to be strong and I think he felt it. All those stories about beers behind the wickets during breaks and so on are true, but it was out of his feeling of strength.
“John played his cricket with army-like control! Some of us didn’t like his style. We were always in arguments with him, but I was always sure that I’m in arguments with somebody who was deep down a friend of mine. So I was happy to argue with him knowing that as soon as the argument finishes, it is over.”
His skill on the oval earned Nagenda the tag of greatest bowler from East Africa. Him and Sam Walusimbi remain the only two Ugandans to play at a senior cricket world cup.
Aged 84 now, Nagenda is still credited for his impact that surpassed the playing field.
He spearheaded the renovation of the Kyambogo cricket oval during his time as chairman of the Uganda Cricket Association.
“Apart from being one of the pioneers of the game, he was also involved with the management. He was the chairman of Uganda Cricket Association. He helped with the renovation of facilities for example Kyambogo cricket oval and he also used to attract a lot of sponsorship and investment in the sport.” Christopher Luswata said of Nagenda.
A true servant of the game, Nagenda’s love for writing inspired him to co-found one of the leading weekly cricket magazines in the UK, spreading Ugandan cricket beyond its borders.
UCA must take pride in celebrating these legends. From Sam Sewagude, William Kamwanyi, the late AK Lutaya, Sam Walusimbi, and now Nagenda, it is a trend that must not see its end.