Botswana Cricket Association (BCA) Chief Executive Officer, Girish Ramakrishna has hailed country’s Under 19 team’s efforts in world cup qualifiers. Ramakrishna shared the sentiments on the backdrop of Botswana Under 19 boys’ qualification to the Division 1 World cup qualifiers to be played next year. While Ghana were the overall winner of the tournament, Botswana made a history of their own, coming second to qualify for the next stage, a first for local cricket.
“It is not a surprise that our boys have qualified. Their hard work has paid off. The boys have been preparing for the tournament since January,” explained Ramakrishna.
According to the BCA boss the preparations were against tough neighboring countries, Namibia, Zimbabwe and a select professional team from South Africa.
“All these countries helped in exposing the young players to tough competitions and also gave them necessary experience to compete without any intimidation from the opponents. The friendly matches also helped the coaches to study the players well,” Ramakrishna.
Ramakrishna said the qualification was not a fluke since they had expected to qualify because of the preparations and the potential of the boys.
He further observed that the boys will in future do wonders for the country.
“The Under 19 team is aged between 15 and 16. This bodes well for the future of the country because they are gaining experience at young age. By the time they graduate to the senior team, they will be experienced to win glory for the country,” explained BCA chief.
On how are they going to prepare the team for the next qualification he said they will keep working hard by putting a systematic plan that will keep the boys engaged and give them game time.
Botswana qualified after winning four games of the six games they played. The local lads lost their first encounter against Ghana.
Botswana only managed 120 runs which Ghana easily chased and won with 121 runs with 8 wickets remaining in 31.2 overs. In the second match Botswana beat Rwanda by 196 runs after registering 301 runs against 105 runs of Rwanda.
The second win for Botswana came on the third match against Tanzania. The latter was 157 all out in after 34.3 overs short of 216 Botswana accumulated. Botswana emerged victorious with 59 runs. Nigeria also was not spared humiliation from Botswana. Nigeria was all out for 101 and Botswana managed to cruise through with 103 runs to emerge winners. The second defeat for Botswana came on the fifth match against Sierra Leone. In the last match against the neighboring Zambia Botswana registered another win to make it four out of the six matches they played.
The winner for the coming tournament will qualify to the Under 19 World cup.