Cricket Kenya Tom Sears has revealed his delight after his U19 side achieved a place in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup Qualifier.
The team finished runners up behind hosts Namibia in the eight team African qualifying event.
Coached by Martin Suji, the team had started the event well with wins over Zambia, Sierra Leone and Tanzania but back to back defeats against Uganda and tournament winners Namibia meant nothing less than two wins from the last two games would be enough. After overcoming Nigeria the team convincingly defeated Botswana by eight wicket to secure a qualifying places. Tight bowling, including an outstanding 5-19 by Raj Savala, restricted Botswana to 138 and the young Kenya side showed no nerves in chasing down the runs required with IrfanKarim 47 not out and Duncan Allen 33 not out securing the victory.
Chief Executive Tom Sears said: 'This is a tremendous achievement by the squad to come through a tough qualifying tournament and after facing intense pressure in the last two games. We place tremendous importance on our Under 19 squad as these are the next generation of Kenyan international players at senior level. Given the way some of the squad have performed there is no reason why, if they maintain their progress, one or two players cannot force themselves into contention for a place in the senior squad sooner rather than later and even into the 15 man squad for the Cricket World Cup 2011.
'There is a great deal of talent in Kenya at this level, there were some unlucky players who didn't quite make the squad for this tournament who will be looking to provide real competition for places in the future. We hope this achievement will inspire all young cricketers in Kenya and open their eyes to where hard work and commitment can take them.'