FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
30 October 2019
The National men’s cricket team made history when they qualified for the T20 World Cup 2020 that will be hosted in Australia. By winning their play-off game against Oman, the team progressed to the semi-finals of the World Cup Qualifiers and booked their place to Australia next year October.
In a game that sea-sawed between the two countries there was special performances by JJ Smit (59) and Craig Williams (45) scoring a 83 run partnership that put Namibia in the driving seat with 161 on the board. Oman started like a house on fire scoring 59 of the first 5 overs. It was however the spin of Bernard Scholtz (3 wickets for 14 in 4 overs) and captain Gerhard Erasmus (3 wicket for 19 in 4 overs) that saw the wickets of Oman tumbling. The team started the T20 Qualifiers on a slow note by losing to Netherlands and Papua New Guinea in their opening games. Winning their remaining four pool matches saw them ending third in their pool and playing for a place in the semi-finals.
It has been an exceptional seven months for the Eagles. By winning the World League 2 Qualification Tournament in April, they qualified for ODI (One Day International) status and ensured two and a half years of playing 50 over International cricket. This also ensured an increase in funding from the ICC, which will ensure that the future of cricket in the country can be better looked after. The team further made their presence known by beating both USA and PNG in their first 50-over tournament and winning three of their four games.
President of Cricket Namibia, Dr. Rudi van Vuuren stated that the Namibian National Men’s Cricket team’s qualification for the T20 World cup in Australia is the culmination of 14 months of hard and difficult work by Cricket Namibia staff, board members, patron and management team.
“Cricket Namibia has progressed from a very difficult situation in July 2018 to World Cup participants with ODI status 14 months later. The team has shown exceptional focus, determination and skill to have qualified from the 14 teams at the tournament. No other country is as limited as Namibia in terms of population size and our National team which consist of born and bred Namibians, has punched way above their weight.”
“The leadership within the team especially Namibia’s captain Gerhard Erasmus was evident. The coaching staff of Pierre De Bruyn and Albie Morkel has done an exceptional job with the team and as our honourable President Geingob always says – Namibia is a friend of everyone and an enemy of none, the team’s performances on and off the field has certainly done this for our country. We salute our team.”
Newly appointed CEO, Johan Muller highlights two key elements for the team’s success; “The behind the scenes work by the Board of Cricket Namibia during the last year was indeed the starting point to today’s success. Under the guidance of Dr. Van Vuuren and patron Francois Erasmus, the Board started with a turn-around plan in 2018, addressing both financial rectification and appointment of right people in key positions. The second key element was the appointment of coach Pierre De Bruyn in December 2018. Pierre is brilliant coach and he is well known for getting the best out of his players. His professional approach to coaching has not just change the approach of the player, but also impacted their mindsets positively.”
“It is an exciting time for cricket in Namibia and behind the team’s success we are committed to make cricket accessible to all players in the country. We will be embarking on a roadshow from the 13th of November visiting 10 towns. The main aim is to build relationships, create structures and increase capacity. We will conduct a Kwata Mini-Cricket Festival, a Primary School coaching clinic, Orientation Course for Coaches, Umpires and Scores, while meeting with headmasters, club chairman and commercial partners.”
It is important to realise that our work have only begun and we have a responsibility to every cricket player, official, coach and supporter to improve this wonderful game.