Eddie Balabba, Rwanda U19 Team Manager, is positive of his team's chances in the upcoming ICC Africa U19 Cricket World Cup Qualifier Division 2 event in Swaziland.
The team will compete in the event, along with Gambia, Mozambique, Nigeria and hosts Swaziland, which will be played from 26-30 July 2010 and will be held in Big Bend, a small village in the Lowveld of Swaziland.
Ahead of the event, Balabba said that a group of 25 prospective team players trained under a Ugandan coach for a month leading to April. It also had training sessions in June in preparation for the event.
"Our team's performance in Mozambique last year was quite impressive especially since it was the boys first international engagement and they performed quite well."
"We are a confident of doing very well in the tournament. Whether our performance will be good enough for us to emerge as winners is a matter that will be decided in Swaziland. We will definitely have a say in who becomes eventual champions"
On team strengths and weaknesses, he said: "Our strength lies in the sheer energy of our team. The boys are relishing the opportunity to show off their natural ability and love of cricket. If I am to point out a weakness, it will be the lack of experience as most of our players will be in their first or second international tournament."
He agrees that cricket has grown in stature in Rwanda in recent times: "Cricket is now quite popular especially in secondary school boys and girls. This year alone, we have registered five new clubs made up of mostly school-going youth. With each year, we see an increase in interest in the sport by youth in Rwanda. Our only constraint is the shortage of cricket equipment and lack of cricket grounds."
Balabba agrees that the team does hope of playing in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup: "To play in the World Cup will be dream come true for the boys! I don't think anyone of them is dreaming that far yet but I am sure they will want to give it their best shot and who knows, one day it might come true. Whether that day is in the near future remains to be seen after the Swaziland event."
For more information on the event, click here