Gaborone — Botswana Cricket Association (BCA) like most sporting codes, has had its plans derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic but is determined not to allow the pandemic deter the association from achieving its goals.
In an interview with BOPA on Saturday during their practice match ahead of Kwibuka T20 Women's tournament scheduled for June 5 to 13 in Rwanda, senior Women national team coach, Innocent Chando said the team was slowly getting into shape.
The coach highlighted that despite challenges posed by COVID-19, the team had been training from Tuesday to Thursday since March and on Saturdays they partake in intra- squad practice matches. He said that he was optimistic that they would be ready for ICC Women World Cup Africa qualifiers to be hosted by Botswana since the Rwanda tournament would be used to improve their game.
"In Rwanda we are going to play against a number of countries that will be part of World Cup Africa qualifier games in Botswana, we will be able to determine where we need to improve before the qualifiers on home ground," he added.
Chando said the other challenge apart from the pandemic was that some key players were not able to attend all training sessions due to school or work commitments, however he explained that the team was progressing well.
When quizzed about his vision, the coach said he wanted the team to be one of the competitive sides in Africa. "We want to be a power house, compete against the best and be able to emerge victorious," he added.
He said the spirit was growing in the team as everyone was looking forward to be selected for world cup Africa qualifiers, adding that healthy competition among players had developed.
Pertaining to home ground advantage during the World Cup Africa qualifiers in Botswana, Chando said it would not have much impact since spectators were not allowed at games.
The coach urged the public to support the team in different ways including employing platforms such as facebook to give word of encouragement to the team, which would lift their spirit knowing that the nation was behind them.
For his part the senior men and under 19 national team coach, Joseph Angara highlighted that since being at the helm of men national teams for the past five years, they had been working tirelessly to develop players from a tender age, which he said was critical in cricket and believed would bring results in the upcoming tournaments.
He said both teams had been training since mid-February, with the senior team having training sessions on Tuesdays and Fridays and taking part in intra-squad games over the weekend.
Due to school commitments, he said the under 19 train mostly on Saturdays while during school holidays they train four days a week. Angara said despite lack of international friendly games due to COVID-19, they were positive that they would perform well at the world cup qualifiers. "Senior team is ranked number 3 in the ICC Men T20 World Cup Sub-region tournament, that would be held in South Africa in October this year. "We are going there to prove ourselves even though the ranking shows that we are capable of qualifying," he added.
He said they would not use COVID-19 as an excuse, adding that they employed different strategies and would use every opportunity to improve their game.
The coach urged different stakeholders to support the team, citing expensive equipment as one of the challenges, which he said was also procured from outside the country.
"The media should also play their part to sensitise the public about cricket as it is not well followed, when the players feel appreciated by the nation that could lead to better results" he said.
Source : BOPA