Cricket Namibia was honoured for its developmental efforts when it won three awards at the ICC Africa Development Programme 2009 Annual Awards which were recently announced.
Cricket Namibia won the Best Overall Cricket Development Programme, and the Best Spirit of Cricket Initiative, for its development programme in partnership with Unicef, which aims to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and alcohol abuse amongst Namibia’s youth. Wynand Louw, who is employed as Cricket Namibia’s head curator, won the ICC Africa Volunteer of the Year award.
It is the fifth time that Namibia has won the ICC Africa Development Programme of the Year, following previous successes in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008.
The CEO of Cricket Namibia Laurie Pieters was delighted with the awards, saying they were just recognition for the hard work done over the past year.
“I am absolutely delighted because we have done a tremendous amount of work over the past year. Since we appointed Marsia Reed as our Development Manager in 2009, our development work has taken off. We now employ eight people as development officers, as well as two development co-ordinators in the west and one in the north of Namibia,” he said.
“Wynand Louw has worked very hard and we now have three more cricket turfs in Windhoek, which brings the total to six,” he added.
The other award winners at the ICC Africa Development Programme awards were:
The Best Women’s Cricket Initiative – Mozambique
The Best Overall Cricket Promotion & Marketing - Uganda
The Best Junior Cricket Initiative – Botswana
Lifetime Service Award – Abram Kitumba Lutaya of Uganda.
Photo of the Year - Uganda
Namibia to play in Zim 20/20 Series
Pieters meanwhile announced that Namibia has accepted an invitation to play in the Stanbic Bank Zim 20/20 Series which takes place in Zimbabwe, starting on Friday, February 12.
The tournament will see Namibia’s ‘Desert Vipers’ competing against Zimbabwean teams like the Mashonaland Eagles, the Bulawayo Southern Rocks, the Eastern Districts Mountaineers, the Midwest Rhinos and the Matabeleland Tuskers.
The tournament forms part of an International Cricket Council plan to help Zimbabwe back on the road to Test cricket. Following a visit by an ICC delegation headed by former West Indian captain Conrad Hunte last year, franchised teams were established in Zimbabwe’s five main regions to foster healthy rivalry within a first-class professional league structure.
The league already started in September 2009, but since only five teams are involved, Zimbabwe asked Namibia to compete in the 20/20 Series which is due to start next Friday.
Pieters said it was a big honour for Namibia to participate in the tournament.
“We have very good relations with Zimbabwean cricket and we have received an invitation to play in their 20/20 franchise competition. They have five provinces and they wanted to bring in a sixth team so we’ve been invited to send a team to participate in Zimbabwe. We are honoured to have been considered and we regard it as a compliment for the standard of our cricket that we have been invited,” he said.
Namibia will play five group matches, with the top two teams progressing to the final on Saturday, February 20.
Namibia’s fixtures are as follows:
13 February: Southern Rocks v Namibia
15 February: Mashonaland Eagles v Namibia
17 February: Eastern Districts Mountaineers v Namibia
18 February: Matabeleland Tuskers v Namibia
19 February: Midwest Rhinos v Namibia