BRAVE Tanzania U-19 team deserves a standing ovation for the bright performance in the just ended ICC World Cup African qualifiers as the narrowly missed a ticket to play in 2022 finals.
The gallant U-19 Boys were table-toppers and were yet to lose a game in the whole tournament and only needed a win to have a perfect target before a surprise loss to Uganda in their last match on Wednesday.
Tanzania was unlucky in the last game as it seemed the gods of cricket were aligned with Uganda who luckily over-turned a huge Net Run Rate to book the only African slot to the World Cup.
In a day when Tanzania needed everything to go its way, Uganda won the toss and elected to bowl first. Uganda applied the brakes quickly with the slow option of Joseph Baguma (2/16) well backed up by Juma Miyagi (1/12) and Akram Nsubuga (1/8) to restrict our brave boys to 33/5 inside 20 overs.
Then came captain Pascal Murungi (4/9) cleaned up the tail with an inspired spell as Tanzania were all out for 51. At the main stadium, Nigeria also helped Uganda by piling up runs against Namibia, who were also in a good position to win the ticket.
Despite luck falling on the Ugandan youth, Tanzanian youth played quality cricket that saw them beating Rwanda, Botswana and Nigeria by a huge a margin. They stamped six points, the same as Uganda and Namibia.
Still it was highly motivating to see Tanzanian cricket making a giant leap at the global level and that came just a week after the Women team won a bronze in in the just ended ICC T-20 World Cup African qualifiers.
The ladies won the third place prize after getting better of Uganda with a nine-wicket victory. The success of the U-19 and the Women teams speak the best of the grassroots projects revival which has been very crucial in cricket revival.
We would like as to commend the efforts by Tanzania Cricket Association whose commitment to develop cricket to the next level has been timely because the sport has gone up considerably up in the recent years. Cricket, one of the sports that looked as an exemplary in achievement, has been redundant in the past five years as there was no serious attempts to rejuvenate it.
While we commend TCA for building a good team we would like as well to insist them to intensify cricket development project at grassroots level for the game to move further than the present level.
As an evidence that cricket has not effectively reached schools, it is not and it has never been among the games in either Inter-Primary School Games (Umitashumta) or Inter-Secondary School games. It’s in schools where most youths are found; hence anything that involves them should involve schools.
We would like to advise the cricket governing body and its associates to prepare a cricket curriculum which can be used by sports teachers who will run e grassroots level projects.