Tuhafeni still scouting for cricket talent

By Michael Uugwanga

RENOWNED cricket development officer Wilhelm Tuhafeni says he will continue to identify talent in Kunene region in order for Namibia to become a future cricket powerhouse. Tuhafeni, who is based in the town of Outjo, is known as the busiest cricket development officer in the country since 2014.

Cricket administrators have in the past been criticised for the slow pace of introducing the sport in areas where it was not commonly played, which is why Cricket Namibia decided to promote the sport in all four corners of the country by appointing cricket development officers.Last year, his region won the Best Regional Development award at Cricket Namibia’s end-of-year-function.

Tuhafeni said his aim is to make cricket a number one sport code in the region.“The development of Cricket in Outjo has always been on a constant growth. We believe in consistency and continuity, because each year comes with its challenges and objectives. And for us to overcome that we need to adapt to the market and use the available resources to tackle the challenges.

“In 2020 we plan to strengthen our development structures, existing boys and girls various age group teams for us to be more competitive in the upcoming cricket season. There is always room for improvement, however we have achieved all what we planned for in 2019 and we are therefore proud of our achievements.

“As a result of our good work for last year we were awarded with the best development region award by Cricket Namibia, since we are the only region to have produced more national players in the year 2018/2019 season, which is a tremendous achievement for our program. In 2019 our U-13 girls’ team won the league title which made our girls’ team once again the best performing team in the country, after they won the junior T20 League in 2018.

“About six boys from our region were selected in various national teams, which toured South Africa and Botswana, respectively. Sponsorship remains a big challenge facing cricket and in order to develop any sport code, an organisation needs financial support…”

Cricket in Kunene Region is growing faster than expected, especially in Outjo, he said, and he ishoping for the same pace in other towns in the region.

“We have been on a consistent growth in terms of development quality players, we are proud of our players who were able to obtain spots in the various national teams. In 2019 we have produced four U-12 national team players who toured South Africa. In addition, to that we have also produced four U-13 national team players who also presented the country outside.

“This is a massive achievement for a small town of Outjo. Girls’ cricket is on a positive growth and we are always providing them with competitive opportunities for them to better their skills and become eligible for national teams…

“Cricket Namibia in partnerships with FNB Namibia has goals and objectives to roll-out the development program to all parts of the country, the program is already active in Ohangwena, Erongo, Otjozondjupa regions and more plans are still underway to make sure that every child getsexposure to cricket. We have plans in Kunene region to involve and introduce the sport to schools in towns, such as Khorixas, Opuwo and Kamanjab, just to name but a few,” he noted.

Namibia’s men senior team will this year take part at the T20 Cricket World Cup in Australia, after qualifying for the first time for the event and Tuhafeni sees this as a potential eye opener for future cricket stars.

“Namibian cricket in general has been going through a development program over the last few years, a lot of work has been put in toonce again revive Namibian cricket and to be able to qualify and compete on a global stage. Our players will get the opportunity to grow as cricketers and the country will gain recognition during this tournament and most importantly we will be able to inspire the next generation of cricketers… Our Namibian team will be the underdogs in this tournament, however it will be a learning curve for our boys,” he said.