The distinctly American sport of baseball was introduced to Uganda in the 1990’s by missionaries and it attracted large numbers of youngsters eager to pick up bats and balls.
Over the years, younger players have improved their skill level high enough to travel to Poland to compete in a qualifying international tournament. Uganda’s skill was evident when they defeated formidable opponent, Saudi Arabia, a team that boasted an unbeaten record.
The victory qualified them for the Little League World Series Emerging Champions in the Middle East and Africa region in 2010 and there was no shortage of bureaucratic challenges.
Two of the Ugandan players were disqualified for being too young and a key game was lost on a technicality.
The following year the team qualified for the Little League World Series in Pennsylvania, making history for Uganda as the first African nation to qualify for the competition, only to be denied visas by the U.S. State Department because of player age discrepancies.
It’s not surprising, considering that many of the boys didn’t even know their own birthdays.
Uganda has succeeded over the years, surprising its challengers by defeating the Dominican Republic, a powerhouse baseball country that has produced numerous Major League Baseball All Star players.