LESOTHO’s under-19 men’s cricket team will tomorrow travel to the North West province of South Africa for the International Cricket Council (ICC) Division 2 qualifier tournament.
The team is scheduled to participate in the ICC Division 2 qualifiers in Potchefstroom, in the North West province of South Africa from Sunday to 29 August 2018. The team leaves the country on Thursday for South Africa.
Lesotho Cricket Association president, Sebajoa Sebajoa told this publication that the team is ready for the competition that will see the country open their campaign against Mozambique in Group B on Sunday.
“We started our preparations in May this year when the players were on their winter break and the plan worked to keep them in shape,” Sebajoa said.
“We started off with 22 players but we have reduced the team to 14 for the competition.”
“A good performance in this competition will take us one step higher to the Division 1 of cricket in this age group. We are in Group B and our team will start their campaign with Mozambique in the same group with Ghana, Gambia and Nigeria against whom we play in the last match on a yet to be confirmed date next week.
“The two teams in each group will make it to the semi-finals of the competition and with the big prize for the top three countries by the end of the competition guaranteed of a place at 2019 ICC World Cup to be staged in South Africa as well.
“But it would also be good for us if we qualify to play at a higher level.”
The cricket association president also said the senior women’s team is hard at work as they head to Botswana for a tournament scheduled for later this month.
“They also started wth their preparations around the same time as our under-19 team and will play in a tournament called Botswana Cricket Association Six Nations tournament.
“This started off as an eight nations’ tournament but it is now six and will include the host country, Mozambique, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Namibia and Lesotho.
“It is part of Botswana’s strategy to develop their cricket and we have since learnt that it is being rated very highly by the ICC.
“Expectations from the ICC now are that each country should at least play five games in the cricket season.”
Sebajoa said despite their excitement to have their teams playing international competitions, they face a lot of financial challenges especially lack of resources.
“We have serious financial challenges especially the lack of good playing facilities and the equipment.
“Botswana teams can host such events because their government has invested in facilities which makes it easier for them to stage international competitions.
“That also gives them the advantage to get funding regularly from the ICC for staging tournaments and we could benefit in the same manner if we also get playing facilities to host games here.
“In the same way, we also call on the corporate world to invest in the sport as it attracts a lot of children,” Sebajoa said.