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Sierra Leone aims for promotion

Tue, Sep 29, 2009 5:41 PM


Sierra Leone aims for promotion
Beres-ford Cocker, President of Sierra Leone Cricket Association and Team Manager of the national side, believes that the squad will perform well in the ICC Africa Division 3 event in Malawi after being placed third in the previous event in Benoni in 2007.

Sierra Leone will join five other teams from the Africa region - Gambia, Lesotho, Malawi, Morocco and Rwanda - to compete in a 50-over round-robin format to win the title which will promote it to Division 2 in Benoni next year.

The squad, consisting of five U19 players and eight seniors, has prepared well for the tournament, even though practice schedules were hampered by severe rains in the country.

Cocker believes that the team has the potential to participate at a global cricket event and the players will be looking forward to a chance to be promoted up the regional divisions.

"It has always been our dream of playing in a World Cup and our single opportunity was dashed by the refusal of visas to Canada for our players to participate in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup Qualifier in September," he said. "Cricket is a popular sport in Sierra Leone and it was disheartening to our players and cricket lovers."

On problems facing the growth of cricket in the country, he adds: "The key problem facing our Association is lack of finance as we have to make do with what we have. The lion share goes towards honouring international tournaments in the form of players allowance, preparation expenses and equipment. We are in dire need of upgrading grounds and advanced training equipment such as bowling machines and more.

"The sport has grown in popularity in the recent past owing to the success of our teams at various competitions. We believe that victory in this tournament will uplift the Spirit of Cricket in the country," he adds.

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