Sunday, February 25

Walvis Bay Salt Eagles secure U19 World Cup spot

Namibia’s cricket national team known as the Walvis Bay Salt Eagles were crowned champions of the Africa ICC U19 World Cup Qualifier on Saturday last week and booked their berth for the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup in Sri Lanka slated to take place next January. 

Namibia became the third team to qualify for the U19 World Cup 2024 via the Qualifier process. New Zealand advanced from the East Asia-Pacific Qualifier last month, while Nepal advanced from Asia in February 2023.

The Eagles captain, Alexander Volschenk, expressed that his team received support from parents that traveled with the team to Tanzania. 

“I am grateful to the coaches and the parents that gave us support on the sidelines throughout the competition,” he said. 

Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, Ireland, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies, and Zimbabwe are among the 11 teams which automatically qualified as the best-placed Full Member States from the previous tournament in 2022.

The Eagles went unbeaten in the Africa Qualifier, winning all of their games after their opening game against Uganda was called off due to weather. The bowlers were at the peak of their game, defending modest totals, with Namibia’s best score of the tournament being only 170.

Following the postponed game, Namibia faced Tanzania on July 24. Namibia finished with a respectable 139 points, led by captain Alexander Büsing-Volschenk’s 39. The bowlers all contributed wickets as Tanzania was dismissed for 33 runs, resulting in a 106-run victory.

Kenya experienced the same fate in the following game, being bowled out for 64 after batting first against Namibia. The Eagles cruised through the chase, winning by 7 wickets in 17 overs.

Sierra Leone were defeated by 83 runs, with left-arm bowler Morris Gerhardt Kariata taking four wickets. 

Namibia completed the tournament on a positive note, defending a 149-run goal against Nigeria, with Peter-Daniel Blignaut taking five wickets in their 53-run victory. 

Returning back home on Monday afternoon, Cricket Namibia’s chief executive officer, Johan Muller explained that the team’s performance inspires children around Namibia to work hard in sports.

“Those children at home watching are inspired by the team’s performance and encourage them to work hard towards playing for the cricket national team of Namibia,” said Muller.

There are two extra seats available for the U19 Men’s marquee event next year, which will be selected by the Europe Regional Qualifier and the Americas Regional Qualifier.

The Europe Qualifier will be held in the Netherlands from August 6 to 12, with the hosts competing against Guernsey, Italy, Jersey, Norway, and Scotland for qualifying. Argentina, Bermuda, hosts Canada, Suriname, and the United States will compete in the Americas Qualifier on August 11.

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