By Carlos Kambaekwa
Namibia’s young cricketers will have a busy schedule this season with several matches scheduled against their counterparts from neighbouring countries.
The first ball gets bowled when the National Under-15 A and B Cricket Eleven confronts Zambia at the Wanderers sports ground in Pioneerspark, South of Windhoek on Saturday.
The youngsters will also tour South Africa where they are expected to compete against leading provincial clubs in Benoni, East of Johannesburg in July, while a number of opposition have also been lined up to tour Namibia for international friendlies against the National Under-13 Cricket Eleven in July and September, later this year.
The National Under-17 Cricket Eleven is also scheduled to partake in a Regional Tournament in South Africa in August this year. The Namibian Cricket Board has undertaken to hold trials in Windhoek, Otjiwarongo and Walvis-Bay for its junior sides.
Meanwhile, Standard Bank has reaffirmed its commitment towards the development of sport in Namibia and in particular Cricket when the giant financial institution pledged a massive sponsorship of N$100,000 to the Namibian Cricket Board.
The money is only a portion of a five-year sponsorship deal, which amounts to half-a-million-Dollar in total and will be used for the development of cricket at grassroots level in various age groups.
A mere three years ago, the General Assembly proclaimed 2005 as the International Year to help focus worldwide attention on the importance of sport in society.
It also sought ways on how sport and physical education demographics could be used as a tool to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals, ranging from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education by the year 2015.
Standard Bank has long realized the power of sport and strongly believes in the power of sport as a unifier of people from all walks of life and their cultural background since it possesses the ability to encourage teamwork, respect for cultural diversity and the need for peace.
The President of the Namibian Cricket Board Francois Erasmus was upbeat about the progress made so far since its inception two years ago.
“The Programme has now gained tremendous momentum with the recent appointment of Johan Rudolph, as national head coach. Rudolph is now steering this particular programme for highly talented youngsters”
Erasmus said he is confident the Programme will steadfastly grow and expressed hope that all young cricketers in Namibia will benefit from this venture, irrespective of their background.
“I’m proud to mention that since the start of this programme, players such as Raymond van Schoor, Pikkie Ya France and Sean Silver were chief beneficiaries of this programme and the trio’s inclusion in the national junior team that played in the Under-19 Cricket World Cup finals in Malaysia earlier this year, is testimony to that,” he said.