Rwanda dreams of ICC WT20 glory
Thu, Feb 17, 2011 10:09 AM
The Rwanda cricket team
Rwanda coach Adam Arnold believes that his side is capable of achieving promotion from ICC Africa Division 3 which begins in Ghana next week.
The event, which is the first regional qualifying tournament for the ICC World Twenty20 2012, will see Rwanda take on the likes of Seychelles in an attempt to qualify for the ICC Africa Division 2.
"The Rwandan team are looking to win the tournament in Ghana with a view to being promoted to Division 2. The Rwandan cricket team have continued to develop over a number of years, which has seen them rise from the lower divisions to Division 3. We hope to continue this trend with a strong showing in Ghana," he said.
"Preparations for the tournament are going well. The Rwandan team have been in training since November 2010 and have finally selected a squad of 14 players that combines a balance of batsmen, bowlers and fielders. Training has intensified over the last month and the players are really starting to gel as a team. We recently played two practice games against a Ugandan representative team, which provided the Rwandan team with excellent match practice leading into the tournament. The side is feeling confident and cannot wait to begin the tournament in Ghana," said Arnold.
Rwanda, which became an Affiliate Member of the ICC in 2003,has over 1,000 registered players in the country, with 11 competitive clubs and 15 secondary schools playing the game. Other exciting developments in recent times have seen the introduction of a women’s league and an annual university tournament.
Arnold believes that the Twenty20 format of the game has the potential to interest young people in Rwanda to start playing the sport.
"I think Twenty20 cricket is more likely to get people interested in watching the game rather than playing it. Twenty20 cricket is exciting, fast paced and entertaining, which makes the game attractive. The shorter format of Twenty20 cricket may get more people interested in playing the game as it does not take up too much time and allows the possibility of playing multiple matches on the same day," he added.
The Rwanda coach is excited by the prospect of the ICC Africa Division 3 event providing a pathway to the ICC World Twenty20 2012 and believes that with investment and hard work, his team can one day look to be competitive alongside countries such as Kenya, who is currently participating at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011.
"The qualification pathway allows teams of a similar standard to compete against each other in order progress towards a spot in the World Twenty20 tournament. By winning the qualifying tournaments, teams are rewarded by moving up a Division and given the chance to compete against stronger opposition. This gives all qualifying teams a change to make their way to the ICC World Twenty20 tournament if they are good enough.
"With continued support, dedication and hard work, there is no reason why Rwanda cannot emulate their close neighbours, Kenya, and make it to the highest levels of competition in the coming years.
The ICC Africa Division 3 event begins in Ghana on 24 February.