CN pays cricketers’ wages despite uncertainty

By Michael Uugwanga

DESPITE the financial difficulties facing the sporting fraternity, not only in Namibia but globally, Cricket Namibia (CN) continues to pay its contracted national team players, despite the uncertainty surrounding the International Cricket Council (ICC) Men’s T20 World Cup set to take place in Australia from 18 October to 15 November 2020, and other international cricket events.

CN has contracted 17 players, who are expected to represent the country at the global showpiece, although some international media are sceptical about the event going ahead, with ICC looking at the possibility of following in the footsteps of the International Olympics Games (IOC) and that of UEFA Men’s European Football Championship to have the T20 World Cup postponed.

The Summer Olympic Games and Paralympics Games that were due to take place in Japan later this year have all been postponed to next year provisionally. The UEFA Men’s European Football Championship that was due to start next month has also been postponed to next year, due to the Covid-19 threat.

It is the second time that Namibia has qualified for the Cricket World Cup contest, with their first appearance 16 long years ago at the 2003 World Cup in South Africa. CN’s contracted players usually receive their monthly allowances as a way of motivating players while in camp before competitions.

Speaking to Confidente Sport Desk, CN’s chief executive officer John Muller said the association continues to pay players’ salaries from the funds it receives from ICC on a quarterly basis and he expected such funding to continue despite Covid-19.

“We are funded on four quarterly payments from the ICC. Through regular engagement with them, I can confirm that no funding reduction will be made at this stage. If the pandemic continues for too much longer and international tournaments cannot commence, this scenario may change. We have 17 players on contract. We are fortunate to say that no salary adjustments have been made to any player or staff member.”

The players have been in training since last week under strict conditions, such as wearing of masks, not sharing equipment, and not gathering with more than 10 players, after cricketers were given a green light to restart training under stage two of state of the state of emergency regulations.

The players are training in the absence of head coach Peierre De Bruyn, who is currently in his native country South Africa but CN has a media officer responsible for feeding video clips of the players in training to De Bruyn.

The ICC has few choices going forward in terms of hosting the World Cup: one would be to play the tournament in empty stadiums without fans, to postpone the contest, or to cancel it.

“There are currently four permutations surrounding the World Cup. It is the last resort from the ICC to cancel the tournament. Other permutations are to postpone till later in 2020 or early 2021 or to play without spectators. The financial impact is difficult to measure at this stage,” Muller said.