Organisers and regional cricket leaders alike have hailed the recent Botswana Cricket Association (BCA) eight nations T20 under 19 Tournament as a success.
The four day tournament was hosted at the BCA Oval this past week. The annual tournament, which was at inception in 2011 started as a four nations was this year increased to an eight nations’ tournament.
Sumod Damodar the tournament director expressed delight that BCA has managed to grow and double the number of participating countries.
“The annual regional cricket tournament has grown impressively. It is a platform to grow women cricket in the Africa Zone V region,” Damodar explained.
He said they have received requests from other countries in the north and West Africa to take part in the tournament.
“We are considering their requests but funds permitting we would be glad to welcome them. The problem is logistics part of it. Travel in Africa is expensive and we have to help them with accommodation and other needs,” he said.
Zone V officials who also graced the tournament were delighted to see BCA hosting a tournament they said is the first of its kind in African Cricket. They said they have interest in the tournament because it is growing the sport and is encouraging girl participation in cricket.
BCA chairman, Ephraim Bhamjee appreciated the countries sacrifices in growing the sport regionally and encouraged officials of participating countries to continue with passion of developing girls’ cricket.
Meanwhile Botswana girls put on an impressive show at the games as they managed to reach the finals where they faced Namibia. Though the local girls did not win, they were praised for putting up a good fight to reach the finals of the tournament.
Botswana batted first and of the twenty overs the girls managed to accumulate 116 runs which the opponents had to chase.
Namibian openers were very strong in batting and they were able to seal it after the 17th over with 120 runs.
Though the Botswana girls did not win the finals, their valiant efforts to reach the finals were good enough to impress Coach Karabo Motlhanka.
“The girls’ performance exceeded our expectations and they out-played themselves,” said Motlhanka.
Commenting on their loss to Namibia, Motlhanka said her team went into the finals drained off energy following their epic semi final match against a determined Gauteng team.
“They had put a lot in the semi final match and they and they gave it all. In the finals there were signs of fatigue,” he observed. He however said that the Girls T20 tournament has created a platform for the development of women cricket in the region and also it give the girls opportunity to compete among the best.
Team captain Lura Mophakedi also shared the same sentiments with her coach.
“The games were too many and we did not rest but the girls did all they could to reach the finals. It has been a long week. In the finals we had upper hand but the Namibians beat us on stamina,” observed Mophakedi.
Still with cricket, the eight nations that participated in the tournament signed the Brighton Plus Helsinki 2014 Declaration through the International Working Group (IWG) on Women in Sport. The Brighton Plus Helsinki Declaration advocates for gender equality in sport and encourages sporting organizations to encourage girl child participation in sport. IWG secretary general Game Mothibi said the signing of the declaration by cricket shows growth of sport and growth of women participation in sport. “BCA has made commitment to support women participation in sport and this is a plus to our organization because it shows the message is being understood as we advocate for gender equality in sport,” Mothibi said.
This year eight countries that participated in the tournament are; Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and the host Botswana.
The 5 day tournament started on Wednesday and ended on Sunday.