Participate in the KWIBUKA Women’s tournament
Botswana Cricket Association (BCA) last week announced the participation of the women’s team in the upcoming KWIBUKA women’s cricket tournament, scheduled to run from 6 to 14 June in Kigali, Rwanda. The team of 16 includes Laura Mophakedi and Florence Samanyika, who are captain and vice-captain respectively as well as team coach, Innocent Chando.
Mophakedi said the team is elated, however they are facing challenges with their training and preparation for the tournament, especially time constraints. “With over a year of not playing, team members have diverted their focus to other things like school, and so we do not have as much time to meet for training. Also, time has been reduced to just two hours which is not really working in our favor,” she explained. BCA Secretary Sumod Damodar said they are excited as an association to be given the opportunity to travel to Rwanda for the tournament, more so that this is the first serious competition they have had in a while post the Covid-19 ban on all sporting activities. “Team spirit is high and we are just crossing our fingers that nothing likely to hinder the trip happens between now and the ladies’ departure,” he said excitedly.
The women’s team has lost four of its main players who are out of the game due to personal reasons and this has put a strain on younger team members who have never played at this level before. “Another challenge for the team is the inability to meet as a collective due to a clash in schedules. People come as and when they can depending on their other commitments,” Mophakedi further explained. This is worrisome for the team, as they have little to no opportunity to meet again because once they are done with school examinations, they will proceed to take their Covid-19 tests and get into a bubble until day of departure. “Despite some of these challenges, I am confident that we are ready as a team and will do well in Rwanda. Cricket is a muscle memory game and we have experience,” added Mophakedi.
Damodar believes the tournament is a much-needed experience for the women’s team given that they are due to host the International Cricket Council African Qualifiers as a pathway for the world cup. “This opportunity will give the team a chance to play in a completely new environment, new grounds, new people and new expose them to new places which will prepare them better when we host 11 teams in September,” he added.
The Rwanda Cricket Association (RCA) will be hosting Botswana, Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria and Rwanda women’s teams for a T20 tournament, next month, in Kigali. The event is sanctioned by the ICC, meaning results of the games will play a pivotal part in the women’s Global T20i Rankings. The travelling team will follow through the Covid protocols with respect to spending days in the “Bio-secure Bubble” having had the Antigen Tests done, and a further RT-PCR Test done prior to departure. They will be mandatorily following the Rwanda government protocols on arrival until their departure, back to Botswana.