The Botswana Cricket Association (BCA) is starting to enjoy the benefits of their long-term athlete development plan, which they started years ago.
This past week, the association’s national Under 19 ladies team, which has an average age of 14 years, showed glimpses of this when they clinched second position at the Africa Cricket Association (ACA) Under 19 Girls tournament in Tanzania.
The team, which was on its first trip outside the country, relegated cricketing powerhouses in the form of Kenya and Uganda to third and fourth positions, respectively, to mark their dream debut into African cricket.
Ably led by their captain, Shameelah Mosweu, the team won six of their 10 games, drawing only one game in the process. Apart from garnering position two, individual players also got man of the match awards while Mosweu was elected the Best Batter of the tournament.
Speaking in an interview, the BCA Chief Executive Officer, Girish Ramakrishna, expressed delight at the local ladies’ heroic performances, saying it gives credence to the BCA’s long standing development programme.
“These young girls are products of our grassroots development programmes which started a long time ago but which are only now taking shape. We are very pleased with the results they got, which were surprising and encouraging, considering that this was their first trip outside the country and for a tournament of such magnitude.”
Ramakrishna said that this performance also highlights the great cricketing talent that the country possesses, which, if nurtured can make the country a force to be reckoned with in the future.
“Our development programmes have been progressing perfectly well over the years and we are looking to move up. Apart from these girls, we also have a lot of talent among the boys and all we have to do is give them more international-games exposure against stronger teams to help them grow,” Ramakrishna added.
While delighted with the girls’ performance and the general growth of development in the country, Ramakrishna is, however, adamant that there is still a lot that needs to be done to help the local youngsters develop.
“This past tournament opened our eyes to see areas where we need to focus on our development to ensure that we groom better players,” the BCA CEO said.
Meanwhile, the BCA CEO says the association will continue to roll out its development programmes to as many areas of Botswana as possible in the coming year. He says the BCA has a plan for strengthening its development structures but said a lot of support will be needed from teachers and parents to ensure that the young cricketers’ development is a success. Apart from cricketing talent, Ramakrishna says the BCA has also incorporated life skills into their development programmes to ensure that their players become responsible members of society.