Namibia’s High Performance Under-17 cricket side will face Botswana Under-19 team in the five-day Momentum Oupanga Friendship Cup, starting in Windhoek, on July 11.
Hosts Namibia were initially scheduled to face Zimbabwe and Western Province, but the two opponents pulled out of the contest for various unspecified reasons.
The visiting Botswana team will use the five matches to prepare for their upcoming Under-19 World Cup qualifying campaign, while the Namibian selectors will have a closer look at potential young cricketers to represent their country at the global Under-19 showpiece in 2018.
The Junior Eagles have already earned automatic qualification, following their 7th placed position at the last World Cup at beginning of the year.
The tourney starts off with two 50-over matches on the first two days, followed by two 20-over games on July 13. Two more 50-overs will round off the event that will be hosted across five different venues.
Namibian coach Rangarirai Manyande has selected a 24-member squad, with each player likely to get their chance to impress the coach and his colleagues and in the process book themselves a place in the final squad for New Zealand.
The Namibian squad reads as follows:
Liam Hermanus, Richard Stears, Erich v Mollendorf, Izak vd Merwe, Estiaan Jacobs, Tiaan Jacobsz, Lohan Louwrens, Eben van Wyk, Janu Dreyer, Steven Delport, Donovan Zealand, Shaun Fouche, Enrico van der Westhuizen, Gerhard Lottering, Victor van der Watt, Ben Shikongo, Mauritius Ngupita, Damian de Silver, Dewald Nel, Petrus Burger, Flores Steenkamp, Keanu Engelbrecht and Albert van der Merwe.
Momentum is very happy with the grassroots programme Cricket Namibia is currently running with the support of FNB and we’re also excited to see the results of this programme and expect to reap its benefits within the next few years,” said Vido Tjozongoro, head of marketing of the MMI brand.
FNB and Momentum both play a major role in the development of cricket in Namibia, with FNB being the main sponsor of grassroots cricket, through which players then filter into the Momentum Cricket, where they are then prepared to take on the best in Namibia.
The programme was also designed to include government schools and to ensure learners from previously disadvantage communities also benefit from this developmental initiative.
Some of the schools benefitting from the programme include People’s Primary School in Katutura, Moses Van Der Byl, AI Steenkamp, Elim and Gammams Primary schools.
In the Erongo Region, Cricket Namibia has included Tutaleni Primary School,
Narraville Primary and Kuisebmund Primary, while Oshakati Primary School, Oshikuku Elim and Rundu Nkurenkuru Primary School are also beneficiaries of the programme.
“We believe by involving more schools in Namibia it will help us to identify and develop these young and talented cricketers at an early stage, whilst preparing them to compete at national level once ready,” Tjozongoro continued.
Young players, such as Ben Shikongo and Mauritius Ngupita, are evidence of the success of the programme. The two were recently selected to represent the High Performance Squad against Botswana.