Ghana captain Peter Ananya is hoping that a good performance in the upcoming ICC Africa Division 1 T20 championship will provide a lasting legacy for the sport in the country.
Africa Division 1 is to be staged in Entebbe, Uganda from 9-15 July. Also featuring in the tournament are Zimbabwe A, Kenya, Namibia, Uganda and Nigeria.
"Cricket has become one of the fastest developing sport in the country and the senior national team hopes to build on it in the upcoming Division 1 Tournament. The whole country and the media is expecting a world league qualification from us. We believe it will be a long lasting legacy in the minds of all Ghanaians," said Ananya.
Ghana came through a tough Africa Division 2 championship alongside Nigeria.
"We defeated impressive countries in the just ended African Regional Division 2 Tournament. It has improved our experience and confidence to upset big teams," opined Ananya.
Ghana captain sees Nigeria to be the toughest rival at the competition.
"Our biggest rivalry will be our West Africa rival Nigeria. They currently hold the bragging rights in West Africa and we long to beat them on the biggest international scene. However we also look forward to surprising teams like Kenya, which is our dream," added Ananya.
The team has trained in the right earnest for the tournament and is ready for action.
"Preparation has been good as moral in the camp is high. We train six hours a day under the head national coach Bhupinder Brar. We are being monitored also by dieticians and psychologists as we hope to put up a good performance at the tournament," revealed Ananya.
The one downside according to Ananya of the preparation is the fact that the side does not have much idea of the conditions in Uganda for the tournament.
"We will use South Africa as a yardstick for assessing conditions in Uganda. Meanwhile, we expect not so much difference in the pitches in Uganda to the ones in Ghana," said Ananya.
Even then Ananya is prepared to back his team to pull off surprises thanks to the presence of some good young players..
"Honestly we should be seen as the surprise team but Nigeria is also strong and could pull off surprises. We have few young under-19 players in the camp. One player to watch out is Vincent Ateak, a fifteen year old boy who was adjudged the best bowler of the tournament," said Ananya.
Like all the other captains, Ananya is thankful to the ICC for providing the perfect structure for the team to make an attempt to qualify for the World T20 2012.
"It is well structured as you get to play the best African countries. It provides tough competition with the spirit of cricket really being displayed. We have the opportunity to upgrade ourselves under high international standard of competition," concluded Ananya.