Kenya’s under 19 cricket team will, at the end of this month, begin the journey to qualifying for the World Cup. One could argue that this team, carries more than just the hopes of a bunch of young cricketers desperate to appear on theglobal stage, but the hope of a cricket organisation that has struggned to overcome the legacy of non-development of the game in Kenya.
I have blogged variously on this matter so, I will not say alot about it here.
Kenya’s under 19 cricket team, virtually dead in the mid 2000s, has been a mixed bag for Cricket Kenya. They have not been to their World Cup since a side dogged by racism in selection issues suffered world reccord defeats against major test teams in 2003. The resultant hiatus has shown with alot of its graduants to the national team struggling to cope with international cricket due to a lack of exposure.
The under 19 squad travelling to the Africa Qualifiers is very significant for two reasons. Firstly the bulk of the players in this team have learnt their cricket entirely under the auspices of the current Cricket Kenya structure. Players like Emmanuel Bundi and Irfan Karim have played alongside one another all the way from the under 13 level for teams run by Cricket Kenya. Qualifying for the next edition of the u19 World Cup would be welcome vindication for the efforts that Samir Inamdar and his team has done. The second reason is that given the extremely dubious manner which the International Cricket Council stripped Kenya of hosting rightsfor the last U19 World Cup.qualifying would be a good way of getting back at the ICC fof their henious deeds.
In the first leg of the qualifying tournament, Kenya face:Uganda, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia, Sierra Leone amongst others. From those listed above, the stiffest competition shall come from, regular World Cup camapigners, Namibia and Uganda. In 2007, it was only Namibia that stooped Kenya from making that year’s World Cup, whilst Kenya’s rivalry with Uganda at the age group level goes back many years. Getting past these two should allow Kenya through to the Global World cup qualifying tourney, where 6 of the 10 participating teams will qualify for the 2011 u19 World cup.
The Under 19 World Cup Africa qualifiers start on the 29th of August in Windhoek, Namibia.