CRICKET Namibia received global recognition when it was presented with two awards at the International Cricket Council’s annual conference in Birmingham from 23 to 28 July.
The conference was attended by 107 countries to discuss upcoming events in world cricket.
“Good governance and optimised performances are factors that have been continuously putting Cricket Namibia on the global map,” Cricket Namibia said in a press statement.
“We are proud to have been represented by Cricket Namibia CEO Johan Muller and president, Dr. Rudie van Vuuren who were presented with two awards – the ICC Development Initiative of the Year, and the ICC Associate Member Men’s Performance of the Year Awards,” it added.
“Cricket Namibia is fortunate to have a support system that has played a major role in the turnaround of cricket in our country. Cricket Namibia patron, Francois Erasmus, who happens to be one of cricket’s biggest fans, was honoured and awarded in absentia by the ICC for his lifelong service to cricket.
“We are proud to have a passionate patron that has been working with the Board of Directors in reaching out ultimate goal: “To be a globally competitive, professional, values based and inclusive sport of choice,” it added.
According to the statement, growing international value and global exposure are important elements for Cricket Namibia, while the national men’s team, the Richelieu Eagles, have been resilient and courageous, competing on the global stage at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 in the United Arab Emirates.
The Eagles were one of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup’s great inspirers, progressing from the first round of the competition, to then go toe-to-toe with some of cricket’s heavyweights.
The ICC Associate Member Men’s Performance of the Year award was in recognition of the Richelieu Eagles’ performance at the T20 World Cup.
Muller put the World Cup results into perspective:
“Playing against Sri Lanka (at the start of the World Cup) we were completely outplayed by a high-quality team, which was a good thing because it showed us the pace and the standard of the competition. Thereafter, we had a really good win against the Netherlands,” he said.
“Facing Ireland was not just a game. It was qualification for the Super 12, it was playing against a full member country, and it was also automatic qualification for the 2022 World Cup, which just made the pressure and the expectation of that one match so much higher,” he added.
The statement added that Namibia is leading the way in Africa in terms of the growth and accessibility of cricket, with a high level of involvement, which includes playing cricket in the streets, at the beach and in back yards.
“The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in lockdown restrictions for individuals across Namibia, including the closure of schools, which demanded a creative solution to keep the cricket program running in our country,” Dr van Vuuren said.
“Cricket Namibia is proud to work towards the vision to be an inclusive Namibian sport of choice, as 67 000 children across Namibia have been exposed to the game of cricket through the Ashburton Kwata Cricket program, and have now become part of the cricket dream,” the statement added.
“Being recognised by the ICC with such prestigious awards is an honour and motivation to always keep flying higher. We are proud to be a part of this cricket dream and to represent Namibia,” it concluded.