While we were junior players Isaneez and i (Kawowo Sports’ Dennis Musali) were from rival schools in Jinja, Isaneez was fast and terrifying for Jinja SS while I used to open batting for Mwiri.
When I made my school debut in my Senior three, I remember facing him in Jinja and even though I was terrified, I managed to drive one through covers and that was job enough from a debutant.
From then on we had so many other encounters before we got to become room mates in most of our successful U19 years. Since then we share a good laugh.
Isaneez played in 2 Junior World Cups and earned himself a Man of Match Award in the loss to Bangladesh for his 6/32. He quickly joined the senior side as his all round ability couldn’t be ignored for so long.
Isaneez was part of the future of Uganda Cricket.
Some bad life styles choices however derailed his progress, he was completely out of the picture in 2010 and those choices could have cost him his life as well.
He nevertheless managed to turn around his life and found his passion for the game again.
They say that if you respect this game it will take care of you. Cricket is now Isaneez’s bread and butter.
He earned a recall to the national team side, despite missing out on selection on the final 14 for the Division 3 World Cricket League in Kampala.
Isaneez has a passion for sharing knowledge and this helped him earn the Cricket Without Boundaries (CWB) ambassador role in Uganda and as well as a placement at the prestigious ICC Academy in Dubai.
Isaneez is surely making the most of his second chance. He might have lost a few yards of pace but this English fan is fitter than ever, he is currently the coach of cricket school power Busoga College Mwiri, Pioneer Ladies team in the league.
He plys his trade with Aziz Damani and there is no stopping Isaneez for now. If he isn’t in the Rwenzori mountains playing with school kids, he will be in Mwiri preparing the team for the coming Schools Cricket Week.
On Saturday he will be on the touch line directing Pioneer in the league.
We caught up with Isaneez and this is what he shared about his cricket story so far.
Qn: How much did missing our selection for World Cricket League affect you after training for over a year and doing well during the Kenya series?
Ans: To start with, I expected either to be on or not on because almost everyone of my playing style was on form so it would be a tough call to take one. On the other hand I thought the coaches would need my bowling and batting experience especially under pressure because it’s where I perform most so many players where on form I agree so I won’t be questioning the selection.
It didn’t affect me that negatively but it pushed me to realise that I had lots to work on now which I have started with immediately.
Qn: You have been on come back after going through some personal issues. Do u want share what happened?
Ans: Everyone in this world I believe is experiencing both positives and negatives in life. I have made a come back on the national team but been actively involved in coaching cricket in different schools keeping the dream alive.
Qn: Since then you have been in very good form, who do you credit with the turn around in your career?
Ans: The late Ligyalingi, no doubt about that he always wanted to see me miles ahead of my career he always believed in the little I executed during his times when I was playing under his guidance. This man was a super star. May his soul rest in peace.
Qn: You and Jackson Ogwang are some of the best upcoming coaches and you earned a stint at the prestigious ICC Academy in Dubai. How was the experience and what did you learn?
Ans: Lovely experience at the International Cricket Academy. It is the best cricket center I have ever seen in my life so far I can say… The coaching philosophy we had before traveling to Dubai was different, we believe this privilege helped us learn how to coach, Jackson will live testify on this. We got this game in a different version, we benefited a lot meeting some world class coaches and players who shared their coaching and playing experiences like Owais Shah the England international, Henderson from West Indies, Ashley Ross high performance New Zealand.
Qn: How’s the transition been for you between coaching and playing?
Ans: I find it easy most times because I am passionate about all, I get the right schedule with me on how I run both without regretting. That’s the most important thing in this game, play over weekends and coach during week days.
Qn: You are Cricket Without Boarders (CWB) ambassador in Uganda. What does your role entail. What has been the impact of CWB in the places you have visited?
Ans: CWB is a charity organization based in the UK. It is very happy to see Uganda take this opportunity of spreading the game with them in those distant regions in our country. We also pass on health messages to the young ones on how to stay and live healthy.
Positively we have numbers of good young talented cricketers in the regions we have been actively involved, regions like Kasese, Soroti, Masindi, Fort portal which have been performing well in the competitions.
My role is do the pre-tours before my colleagues come in those particular regions then follow up the works after they leave, also I sensitize many about the CWB where ever I go and get the relationship between us and any other of the same ambitions.
Qn: What is the proudest moment playing the game?
Ans: Two moments, one when I helped take my country to the U19 World Cup against stubborn Kenya in Namibia, scoring 51 not out in 2003. At the world stage…? Against Bangladesh when I picked 6 wickets for only 32 runs.
Qn: Name your best XI in Uganda with you in it.
Ans: Isaneez Emmanuel, Hamza Saleh, Musali Denis (Wicket keeper), Kwebiha Junior, Nehal Bibodi, Waiswa Charles, Mukasa Roger, Kyobe Arthur, Frank Nsubaga, Deus Muhumuza, Ssenyondo Henry.
Qn: Name of your favorite players on tour?
Ans: Kenneth Kamyuka was excellent on tours, then of course Musali my man with enough confidence even if it’s not going our way.
Qn: What is the future like for you from here on?
Ans: Time to produce better quality updated players to take us to the world, we are ready to do that …but knew collective power, in five years to come we shall be at the top of our targets.
Qn: Outside cricket what is Isaneez like?