21 December 2012

Tanzania: Cricket Needs Wider Promotion

THE International Cricket Council (ICC) honoured Tanzania with an opportunity to host the 2012 Africa Regional T20 Senior Women's World Cup Qualifier, held in Dar es Salaam for the past four days.

The hosts missed by a whisker an opportunity to qualify for the 2014 ICC Women's World Cup, despite putting up an impressive performance in the qualifiers that attracted six nations, including mighty South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda and Namibia.

Tanzania and the other four countries, with the exception of South Africa were battling to grab a single slot in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2014 scheduled for Dhaka, Bangladesh. And, after a grueling battle for top honours, South Africa who competed in the qualifiers as a non-scoring side as they have already qualified for the Bangladesh showpiece, courtesy of their superior ICC ranking, finished top on maximum nine points, with a net run rate of 4.5652.

Zimbabwe, who finished second, claimed the only slot that was reserved for Africa Region in the qualifiers. Tanzania ladies finished third, which was not a bad attempt at all, in-fact, it was an impressive campaign for the ladies in the qualifiers, beating the likes of Kenya, Uganda and Namibia.

Looking at Tanzania's youthful side, none of the team members was over 23-years-old, experience and upward form was the pillar. The tournament was an ideal platform for local players to prove their mettle and show the world the vast talents that this country is endowed with, but somehow failed to nurture in the past due to numerous problems including bickering among cricket officials.

Such problems are now a thing of the past and indeed the Tanzania Cricket Association (TCA) deserves a pat on the back for putting its house in order and concentrate in promoting the sport, from the grassroots. The good job the TCA has been doing in the past decade or so is finally paying dividends as attested by many young talents currently playing the sport.

The TCA has been working hard to shed the sport of its elitist image by promoting cricket in schools and encouraging children irrespective of their races to take up the sport, which not long ago was largely seen as a preserve of only a certain race.

By picking Tanzania to host the tournament, the ICC must have taken note of the progress being made by the country. The challenge for TCA is to sustain the good job and continue with aggressive efforts to spread the sport all over the country.

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