Botswana Cricket Association (BCA) vice chairman and PR Sumod Damodar has confirmed that after a lull of nearly 24 months with no sports, they are hopeful to be blessed with rekindled joy and “Spirit of Cricket” with the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Africa Qualifiers due to be hosted at the BCA Ovals in Gaborone from September 7 – 20, 2021.
“The long-awaited return to competitive international cricket is upon us and with the grace of God, the nation’s prayers and the discipline by all participating teams by adhering to the health Protocols, we can look forward to an extensive display of good cricket by the women on the playing fields,” Damodar declared.
He further added that this is the first tournament of this nature under the ICC banner to be hosted by BCA and the first on the continent under the pandemic period.
“This tournament is the Africa Qualifiers where eleven (11) teams will vie for the sole coveted spot to proceed to the Global Qualifiers, to be played in 2022. It is expected to be highly competitive and strenuously fought, considering that only one successful team will truly emerge victorious in every sense,” noted Damodar.
The participating countires are Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Mozambique, eSwatini, Namibia, Zimbabwe and hosts Botswana.
“As per the protocols in place by the Government of the Republic of Botswana and the international Protocols for all events hosted by the ICC, the BCA have taken a slightly sterner approach to make every effort to minimise “zero transmission” at all times and to ensure a successful completion of the tournament, to be a showcase and model, going forward,” opined Damodar.
Moreover, to show their readiness, Damodar noted that all personnel of the local service providers including, transport (Vincent Travels), sanitization & hygiene (Clean All Services), security (Security Services), catering (Mirchi Masala), paramedics (Life Link), as well as the housekeeping and F&B staff of Avani, Chief Medical Officer designate, BCA Groundstaff, BCA Liaison personnel, IMG crew, ICC organizing team and the BCA organizing team will also be accommodated at the Avani for the duration of the tournament. He further added that Avani will be a zoned off area used by BCA and ICC.
“All participants, service providers and the organizing team will only be permitted to travel between Avani and the BCA Ovals, as per the schedules of the games and/or designated practices allocation, no movement outside of this route will be permitted, until the end of the qualifiers”, added Damodar.
Damodar further highlighted that due to covid 19 protocols, no spectators will be permitted at the grounds. “The games will be streamed live in lieu of the contract between IMG and ICC; the link will be made available prior to the commencement of the tournament,” he explained.
Moreover, Damodar highlighted that the eleven teams have been divided into two (2) groups of six (6) and five (5) and will play each other within their respective groups. At the conclusion of the group stages, the top two (2) teams from each will proceed to the knock-out Semi-Finals and Finals accordingly.
“Teams who are unsuccessful in their quest to proceed to the knock-out stages will depart earlier, as per the availability of flights; this is also with a view to reduce congestion for a longer duration,” concluded Damodar.