Cricket team targets Division 1, World Cup
THE Lesotho Cricket Association (LCA) says it is confident that the under-19 squad will qualify for the Division 1 when they travel to South Africa later this month.
Lesotho is in Division 2 and the Division 1 qualification will enable the team to play in the 2020 Under-19 World Cup qualifiers also scheduled for South Africa next year.
Secretary general of the association, Sepolo Mohlouoa, told the Sunday Express that hopes are high for the side. The team is scheduled to participate in the ICC Division 2 qualifiers in Potchefstroom, in the North West province of South Africa from 19 to 29 August 2018.
Only two teams from the 11 in Division 2 will be promoted to Division 1.
Other teams in contention are Botswana, Mozambique, eSwatini, Malawi, Tanzania, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Zambia and Nigeria.
Mohlouoa said they have already assembled a team for the competition.
“We have assembled a team of 14 players whom we believe in,” Mohlouoa said.
“I think they stand a chance to compete with their counterparts from the region and can push them all the way to qualify for next year’s World Cup qualifiers while they can also qualify to Division 1.”
Mohlouoa said they held trials in June this year where they selected the squad which has been practicing at Machabeng College on weekends.
He said they however, had leave out eight players from the initial squad as they would have reached 19 years by the time the tournament commences.
“Our main challenge might be only that we had to replace eight players because of age.”
He said they are also working hard to ensure that they develop players although they are faced with financial challenges.
“We also have financial challenges so it is a bit difficult to develop players ourselves as LCA. However, we have engaged some primary and secondary schools which now have the sport.
“Added to that we also have tertiary institutions whose teams are playing in our national league,” Mohlouoa said.
Meanwhile, the female national team is also scheduled to depart for Botswana later next week for the Eight Nations tournament. The side is set to compete with Botswana, Swaziland, Mozambique, Namibia, Malawi, Zambia and Tanzania in the tournament that will run from 19 to 29 August 2018.
“Our female national team will also be competing in the Eight Nations tournament and this is per the ICC’s order that countries should increase women involvement into the sport.
“They actually ordered us that they (ladies) should play at least eight international matches in a year,” said Mohlouoa.
Mohlouoa also lamented the lack of corporate support for the sport which he said has suffered from lack of funding.
“We have tried to engage about 20 companies who have not even bothered to respond to our letters trying to secure support for the two teams. We have players with great potential but our major problem is lack of finances and we wish that the corporate sector can start supporting us,” Mohlouoa said.