Eagles miss out on Kwibuka tourney

• By Michael Uugwanga

THE women senior cricket side, nicknamed the Capricorn Eagles, finished second at last year’s Kwibuka Women’s Twenty20 International Tournament in Kigali, Rwanda, but this time around the team will not take part in the event.

The Kwibuka Women’s T20 will take place from June 9 to 18 June.

This year’s tournament will be contested by host Rwanda, defending champions Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Botswana, Nigeria, Germany and Brazil.

Speaking to Confidente this week, Cricket Namibia chief executive officer Johan Muller explained the reason saying that the team has other priorities like touring Europe, where it will play T20 matches against Netherlands and Germany for international exposure and ranking.

“This year we will not be playing in Kwibuka tournament because we just hosted the Capricorn Tri-Nation Series in April, where we played against Zimbabwe and Uganda, as they are the top teams.

“We do not have the financial capacity to play in Kigali as well, even though the Kwibuka tournament is a wonderful event and we will definitely be part of it again in the future.

“The other reason is because we are taking the girls’ team to the European tour to play five matches against Netherlands and three T20 matches against Germany.

But this year we just needed to play countries outside Africa to gain experience against countries that are ranked above us, as it is quite important and hence we decided to use our resources to go to Europe,” said Muller.

Muller also took the opportunity to pay tribute to cricketer JJ Smit who was ranked fifth in the men’s T20 ranking all-rounder in the world by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

“The world has not yet seen the best of JJ Smit. To see a Namibian ranked in the top five or top 10 is a magnificent achievement.”

While at the same time the men senior cricket side the Richelieu Eagles will be in action this weekend when they take on Hong Kong in the Castle Lite Series 50 overs from June 5 to 12 at the United Cricket Ground in the capital.

“It is important to play against Hong Kong as preparation for the ICC Series against Scotland in July this year. So playing in a longer format and to be tested in that format as we have played in such longer formats before against Uganda and Ireland is therefore good to play against a high ranked country,” said Muller.