Uganda's She Cranes ready for lift-off.

Author:Goodwin, Clayton

This month, the She Cranes, Uganda's netball team will be touring England. Their captain, Peace Proscovia, despite a difficult early life, is considered one of the best in the sport. Will they inspire UK blacks as much as the West Indies cricketers did a couple of decades ago?

"We are coming to compete, not Just participate." Peace Proscovia, the Ugandan net? ball captain, Is adamant that her quickly improving team can hold its own, and more, in the forthcoming series against the heavily-favoured England Roses, the recently-crowned Commonwealth Games gold medalists.

The three-match rubber starts at the Echo Arena in Liverpool on Tuesday 27 November and moves to the Copperbox Arena on Friday 30 November and Sunday 2 December.

"We can do this," Peace informed New African. Although she added "Let the best team win", there can be no doubt in her mind who that will be. She has a point. The Roses may not be ready for plucking but the Uganda She Cranes are flying high.

Her opposite number, England's captain Ama Agbeze, herself of African heritage, led the country to the Commonwealth Games triumph earlier this year. She rallied the team on the eve of the final with the call, "It's our time. We're ready. We're completely together--It's us. It's now." She is similarly excited by the coming challenge.

Agbeze has warned England against complacency. "The She Cranes are growing in experience and confidence. I think people may be surprised if they think the series is won already."

She told England Netball: "Uganda is quite a different proposition to Jamaica (whom England first play in an away series), so the training period will give us time to draw our focus on Uganda's style of play.

"Peace Proscovia," Ama continued: "is the lynchpin of their team and is tall and can hold space, but doesn't shy away from being mobile outside of the goal circle if necessary. The She Cranes play with athleticism yet poise, and we'll be looking at building pressure across the course of the game to force them into error."

In the last four years Uganda has risen from 15th to 7th position in the international rankings, and they took the eventual champions to a competitive 49-55 result in the early stages of the Commonwealth Games tournament.

Most of the team are drawn from the powerful NIC (National Insurance Corporation) Holdings Ltd side, with others from the prison service and the police. While Peace may be the only player currently living in England, the combination of...

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