THE senior national cricket team is set to depart on Friday ready for its campaign in the 2013 Pepsi ICC Africa Division One Twenty20 qualifier, which is scheduled to start in the Ugandan capital Kampala on Sunday.
Five teams will compete for the top spot at this year's edition of the competition with the champion joining Namibia as Africa's representative at the ICC's penultimate round in the UAE. The competition will be held at the National Cricket Stadium, Kampala, with Tanzania battling with Kenya, Nigeria and Botswana for the sole ticket from the event.
Chief Executive Officer of the Tanzania Cricket Association (TCA), Zully Rehemtullah said everything was ready for the team to depart in time for the qualifiers. Players who are expected to leave for Kampala are team's skipper, Hamisi Abdallah, Abhik Patwa, Benson Mwita, Riziki Kiseto, Khalil Rehemtullah, Kasimu Nassoro, Issa Kikasi, Ally Rehemtullah, Kishen Kamania, Salumu Jumbe, Mobeen Elyas, Zamoyoni Jabeneke, Seif Khalifa and Nasibu Kelvin.
The team has been training for the past few weeks at Muhimbili Cricket Academy, Annadil Burhani and University of Dar es Salaam venues. Skipper Abdallah said all players were in great shape and were looking forward to representing the country well in the tournament.
Kenya and Uganda are experienced campaigners and have competed in the previous ICC qualifying tournaments in Dubai. The Namibian team gained automatic entrance into the 2014 tournament because of their outstanding performance in the last tournament when they lost to Afghanistan and Ireland in the final play offs, thus missing out on a World Cup berth in 2012.
The two qualifiers from Division 2, Botswana, the winners of the week and the runners up, Tanzania, will have their work cut out for them in Kampala. They both, however, have a blend of youth and experience and this will augur well for them at the week.
Karabo Modise of Botswana, the man of the tournament recipient, will again be at the forefront for his country at this tournament, while Tanzania will look to Abadallah, Abhik Patwa, prolific run getter and Benson Mwita, best bowler recipient at the Division 2 tournament, Kassimu Nassoro and Khalil to lead them to greater honours.
The conditions in Uganda will be very hot and very bright and this will have an impact on the cricketers' fitness levels and their ability to concentrate for eight matches. Keeping the boys hydrated and injury free for all the matches to be played will be crucial to all teams.
Teams will have to be carefully managed to prevent fatigue and burn out. Because of this the ICC saw it fit to ensure that a rest day has been allocated for this event.