Naome Bagenda: I would like for the young players to get the opportunities that I did not have
Did you know that the start of Cricket in Uganda is contributed to the British rule? From then on it just grew and was introduced to schools like Busoga College Mwiri, Kings College Budo and many others. In this article we are introduced to Naome Bagenda, founder of Little Stumps Academy and a cricket coach who is passionate about cricket coaching, nurturing cricket talent and player development. She wants to be at the forefront of taking cricket in Uganda to the next level. Let’s get to know her better..
So who is Naome Bagenda?
I am a National Cricket Player for Uganda and also an ECB level 2 qualified Cricket Coach. I started Little Stumps Academy in September 2019 with the objective to develop cricket skills amongst children from the age of 4 to 19 years. The Academy offers cricket coaching services, player development and builds life skills amongst its players in a fun and safe environment.
What was the turning point to lead you to where you are now?
My turning point was after I completed my level 2 Coaching course and had an opportunity to coach and understand the English Cricket Player development model. I was inspired by the fact that investment is made in children at a tender age and they go on to play professional cricket. I thought to myself about starting something similar in Uganda and this gave birth to Little Stumps Academy in 2019.
How has the journey/ride been in building your company in Uganda?
It has been tough and really challenging. Firstly it is the first of its kind in Uganda and I had no where to benchmark from. The elite nature that it is intended to exude is not yet taken seriously, missing the professional line that we are purposing to take.
Finances to start up Little Stumps Academy Programs and a sports (cricket) facility to have these programs undertaken have been the biggest obstacle. I haven’t yet been able to overcome these challenges, but what I did was to invest personal finances in the Academy. The start-up costs are aimed at covering some of the operational costs like venue, and paying volunteers. With regard to the cricket facility, we haven’t permanently addressed the problem but we are temporarily renting a play field in Kampala.
Do you have any success stories that you can share to inspire others?
We are far from successful but have some achievements to celebrate. We are doing fairly well with pushing out the LSA Brand in the public and 50 player signed up so far.
I am passionate about the game thus I would like for the young players to get the opportunities that I did not have especially towards playing professional cricket if they so wish.
I am proud of the ‘Super Saturday’ cricket sessions that we organize that see averagely 30 players turn up and play cricket for 3 solid hours in a safe and fun space. Also seeing Academy players improve in their cricket skills and technique application is something we are excited about.
What is in the future for Little Stumps Academy?
The future is bright. I see us being the first Elite Cricket Academy that is channeling out players into the National Under Age Teams. We will be a platform that has nurtured wholistic cricket players that are academically strong with mental abilities and display excellent technical and tactical cricket skill sets.
Twitter : @StumpsLittle ,
Facebook : Little Stumps Academy