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YUSUF KABANA - USC 1984 Magazine

BY: Abdulrazak Sheriff Fazal


Yusuf Kermali or ‘Kabana’ as he is popularly known was once the complete cricketer for Union. The Name ‘Kabana’ has been woven in the tapestry of Ithnashris’ cricket right from Zanzibar where the father, Gulamali Kermali(Senior Kabana), was instrumental in helping his team achieve fantastic wins.

Yusuf, born on 15th August, 1942 in Zanzibar, projects the dignity of a tall, polite and humorous gentleman. If anyone mistakes that for weakness he is in for a shock for Yusuf is one of the best tacticians in the history of Union.

Once sometime in 1953 in Zanzibar when Yusuf was just 10 years old Ithnashris ran short of a player in one of their matches. Yusuf was instantly ordered by his father to change into his white outfit and take the field. Yusuf played for his school ‘Sir Euan Smith Madressa’ in 1954. While playing for his secondary school, ‘King George the vith’ against a strong Arabs side he wrecked their innings and drew the immediate attention of Ithnashris. Soon Yusuf was representing Ithnashri Gymkhana ‘A’. He played for Zanzibar Combine in 1958 and joined Ithnasri Union of Daressalaam in 1965.

The personality of a captain can be imposed on the team even if it is full of hardened players. Yusuf leads quietly and unassumingly, but there is no question as to who is in charge on the field. He sees to it that he utilizes his resources to the fullest advantage. He is always a tough proposition for any opponent.

Yusuf is an attacking cricketer and one of Union’s shrewdest captains. He pressurizes the batsmen with his rapid bowling changes. He easily detects a fault in the batsman and advises the bowler the way to bowl. He himself is an outstanding bowler spinning appreciably with good variations of flight, line and length to his every delivery. Most of his victims get caught which gives him immense satisfaction in having trapped them. Yusuf is expert at bowling to his field and restricts the flow of runs that is essential in limited over cricket.

Against the powerful Indian side led by Napa of Pat Audi that visited Tanzania in 1973, Yusuf had the Indians trailing at 66 for 6 in their second innings by claiming 3 vital wickets of Pat Audi, Vishwanath and Sharma.

Yusuf is a dashing left handed batsman. The year 1979 was Use's best season with the bat when he scored almost 700 runs. He recorded a century before lunch against Pang hitting the very first ball of the day for a towering six and then went on to score an unbeaten 136. He almost got another hundred when he remained unbeaten with 85 against YMCA.

Yusuf has all along displayed his superb all round ability. In the year 1970 Yusuf took 5 wickets against the formidable Alaskan Sports Club consisting of its leading players and bowled them out for a meager score of 56. In reply Union at 40 for 7 also found themselves in trouble when Yusuf the batsman came to their rescue scoring 15 invaluable runs.

Yusuf has impeccable qualifications. Never one to be angry with his players, he would sit down with his team mates and with firmness and unfailing sense of understanding help his team work out a critical situation.

Unfortunately Yusuf had two of his fingers broken and also owing to overstraining his knees he had the minescue removed. All the stress and strain he suffered in the process has finally caught up with him now. He has given up competitive cricket but when the need arises he is ever ready to fill in the gap. Presently he is in charge of the veterans’ side.

Yusuf is a pious man who while off the field would not hesitate to spread his musallah and offer namaaz at the prayer time. No doubt the name Kabana commands such respect today. Several young players have come up as a result of Use's efforts at bringing up new talent, including his son Jameel who forms the third generation progeny of the ‘Kabanas’.

Yusuf also displayed his skill at volleyball and played for the club for a number of years.


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