The Botswana Cricket Association has left no stone unturned in their bid to help the country’s U-19 boys’ cricket team prepare for the forthcoming International Cricket Council (ICC) ÔÇôAfrica Cricket Associations (ACA) Division 1 U-19 tournament.
The tournament will be hosted in Uganda from the 24th to the 31st of this month.
The Botswana U19 Cricket team is expected to leave the country this coming Wednesday to compete at the tournament. The team will be under the guidance of senior national team coach, Arjun Menon.
Speaking in an interview, Botswana Cricket Association (BCA) Secretary for Fixtures and Publicity, Sumod Damodar, said the tournament will be used as qualifiers for the U-19 World Cup to be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2014. Damodar said in view of the seriousness of the tournament, they have also roped in the services of former Namibian senior team coach, Johan Rudolph, to provide technical advice during the tournament.
Quizzed on how they convinced the highly rated South African born coach to travel with the team, Damodar said he (Rudolph) had shown keen interest to work with the team from the time he came in.
“When we approached him, he told us that he will be ready to do it as long as we want him to. We then had to sort out all the team logistics before we contacted him and when we did, he agreed,” the BCA Secretary for Fixtures and Publicity explained. According to Damodar, the addition of the former Namibian senior team coach is of great importance as he has extensive knowledge in dealing with young players.
“He is a top coach and his achievements show exactly that. He has coached the Namibia U-19 team before he went on to coach the senior national cricket team of Namibia which he lead to the World Cup,” he said of Rudolph.
On the meaning of the involvement of the highly rated coach, Damodar said the BCA is of the belief that his involvement will add a new perspective and fresh ideas to the team.
“It does not mean we do not trust our coach. We believe that the team as a whole can really benefit from his input. These boys are in their formative years and we want to give them the best possible training for their development,” he said.
Concerning the preparations, Damodar said while they have had little time to get the team ready for the tournament, the BCA had done everything it possibly could to ensure the team is well prepared. Going into the tournament this coming weekend, the team has only had one camp which was conducted during the past week.
“The problem is that initially, the tournament was scheduled for August this year and we had planned our preparations focused on that. However, the tournament organizers changed the dates to a much closer date in May and this scampered all our preparation plans,” Damodar said concerning the preparations.
Asked whether this will not adversely affect the team’s chances of qualifying, the BCA said while there is a high chance it would do, they take solace in that all teams involved also had to change their plans.
“Fortunately for us, many of this team’s players have been involved in active play for a while now. We ensured that they played in the Thuntsha T20 league, while some were even involved in the senior team that went to the Africa Division 1 T20 tournament this year, where some of them played,” he said.
At least eight U-19 teams will compete at the Uganda tournament.