Namibia set for Kwibuka T20 tourney

The Kwibuka T20 tournament, which kicked off yesterday in Rwanda and will run until 12 June, marks the return of associate cricket for women in Africa.

07 June 2021 | Sports

SPORTS REPORTER







The five-team event will see hosts Rwanda compete with Namibia, Botswana, Nigeria and Kenya. The week-long tournament consists of 14 matches, 10 round-robin games and four knockout matches.

Hosts Rwanda and tournament debutantes Botswana were scheduled to clash yesterday, while Namibia was scheduled to face Nigeria.

With the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Africa qualifier scheduled to be played in Botswana from 3 to 11 September, the Kwibuka T20 tournament serves as almost the perfect dress rehearsal for the participating teams, an opportunity to stake out the competition, create plans and test out some theories is a low stakes environment.

The qualifier will see four of the five teams joined by Cameroon, Malawi, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe fight for a spot in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Global qualifier in 2022.

The competition received a slight jolt well before the start as three-time champions Uganda had to pull out due to Covid-19 cases in the team's bio-bubble. It was supposed to be Uganda’s first assignment under the new head coach Suraj Karavadra.

Competitors in detail

Rwanda will take field for the first time under head coach Leonard Nhamburo, who was appointed full-time earlier this year. Their record in the Kwibuka T20 tournament isn't too impressive - they won just two games in the 2019 edition, but are confident of going the distance this year.

Two-time champions Kenya were the late entrants in this edition of the tournament. As the highest ranked T20 team in this competition, they would look to add another trophy to their kitty. They're ranked 22nd in the ICC T20I charts while Namibia, Rwanda, Botswana and Nigeria are ranked 23rd, 34th, 40th and 41st respectively.

Close to Kenya's heels in the ICC rankings, Namibia has a strong 14-member outfit, led by Irene van Zyl. This will be their first competition after Francois van der Merwe's appointment as the head coach.

Of the teams set to play the Kwibuka T20 tournament, Botswana have played a T20 most recently. One of the things they will look to change from their last series is their captain. Laura Mophakadi, the leading T20 run-scorer, has been handed the reins while then skipper Goabilwe Matome misses out.

The fifth team in the competition, Nigeria, will be led by Samantha Agazuma. They have the teenaged Lucky Piety, the only woman with a century at any level, in their squad. She will be the youngest to play for Nigeria if she makes her debut.

Batting woes

Batting has been a worrying aspect for Namibia and that is something they've looked to address in the practice sessions ahead of the Kwibuka T20 tournament.

They are set to look towards Andri van der Merwe, Namibia's leading run-scorer, to rake up the runs. Sylvia Shihepo could be the key player with the ball, with 25 scalps to her name, the most for the team.

Namibia’s squad consists of Van Zyl, Van der Merwe, Shihepo, Yasmeen Khan, Arrasta Diergaardt, Kayleen Green, Reehana Khan, Didi Foerster, Wilka Mwatile, Sune Wittmann, Shiwomwenyo Namusha, Victoria Hamunyla, Edelle van Zyl and Mezerly Gorases.

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