A summer of cricket

Tshepo Kehimile
HECTIC SCHEDULE: Botswana cricket is on the move

Botswana ready to blast off

An action-packed summer awaits the country’s national cricket teams.

First up for the men’s senior side is a trip to Benoni, South Africa, where the Baggy Blues will take part in the first ever Africa Cricket Association (ACA) Men’s T20 Finals.

The eight-team competition runs from 14 to 22 September, with Botswana drawn in Group B, which also contains Ghana, Mozambique and a formidable foe in Kenya.

The top nation from each group (Group A is made up of Uganda, Nigeria, Cameroon and Malawi) will then meet in the final with the winner crowned champion.

The local lads qualified for the tournament in style way back in November 2018, when they blitzed to victory on home soil, winning all six of their matches in what was an unprecedented new high for Botswana cricket.

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Four years later, and after three cancellations, the ACA Finals will finally go ahead.

Speaking to Voice Sport through the week, National Team Coach, Joseph Angara revealed the team have been gearing up for the tournie for most of the year.

“We started our preparations back in February. We have a squad of 18 players and it will be cut to 14 in the next two weeks; we are optimistic that we will go all the way and win the tournament,” he declared.

To do that, Team BW will have to overcome a Kenyan side ranked 14 places higher than them in the latest World Rankings (Kenya are ranked 30 and Botswana 44).

Aware of the challenge ahead, Captain, Karabo Motlhanka knows his team will have to be at their best if they are to return with the trophy.

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“The boys’ morale is high. We want to prove ourselves against African powerhouses such as Uganda and Kenya who play top level cricket. We know it is not going to be easy but our mandate is to go for the top honour, which will require us to be at our best to achieve our goal,” said the big-hitting batsman.

After the fireworks in Mzansi, the team’s attention then turns north, as they gear up for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Group ‘A’ Qualifiers (AFRICA) in Rwanda on 15 – 25 November.

The next generation will also be on show, starting with the U/19 women, who are looking to book their place at the inaugural ladies T20 World Cup.

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Botswana will host the Africa Qualifiers from 1 – 13 September, with all games being played at the BCA Oval in Gaborone. The girls will come up against Sierra Leone, Namibia and Uganda, with the top two making it to the semis. The winner of the nine-team tournament will progress automatically to the WC in South Africa next January.

Their male counterparts, the men’s U/19 will also be in action in the longer format of the white ball game. The boys are scheduled to strut their stuff in the International Cricket Council (ICC) Men’s U/19 50-Over Division 2, set for 28 – 9 October in Abuja, Nigeria.

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