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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Kenya’s coaches lead in regional cricket championship in Rwanda

By John Kwoba NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s best cricket player in decades Maurice Odumbe and Steve Tikolo might have played together for the national team, but they will be worst of enemies as they guide their teams in the weeklong regional East Africa ICC World T20 Africa B qualifiers in Kigali, Rwanda.

The two teams meet Sunday and later Uganda and Kenya will continue their ICC World T20 Africa B qualifiers over the next week with a repeat fixture, as well as two games apiece against Rwanda and Tanzania.

Odumbe will be having his second match as head coach of Kenya team after he lost out to Zimbabwe last month while Tikolo, who has some experience under his belt, will be in charge of the Uganda team.

Host Rwanda and Tanzania are the two other teams in the competition, in which the best two teams will sail through to the Africa level.

During their best days on the cricket turf, Odumbe and Tikolo led Kenya to their maiden World Cup semifinals in South Africa back in 2004.

But a lot of water has gone down the bridge and today they lead their two teams in a bid to redeem their stakes in the sport.

“It is not about us coaches. But the chance for Kenya to progress through the qualification and restore its glory on the global scene. Tikolo is a good player and coach and we have a lot in common, but the competition has new parameters,” said Odumbe.

Odumbe and Tikolo shared a number of memorable moments until when they were separated in 2005. Odumbe was banned by International Cricket Council (ICC) while Tikolo retired from the game.

Now Odumbe wants to prove Kenya is still the kings in the region. Odumbe took over from Thomas Odoyo after Kenya dropped down to Division Three of the World Cricket League early this year.

In 1992, Kenya was ranked 24th in the world. After 1996, the country was acknowledged as the greatest emerging cricket country in the world especially after it beat the mighty West Indies at the Cricket World Cup the same year.

In 2003, the national team reached the semi-finals of the 2003 World Cup where India won by 91 runs.

But it has been a free fall for Kenya since as player contracts were not honored and poor administration crept in. However, Odumbe believes, the team has started a slow painful path up the ladder back to its glory days.

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EARLIER REPORTS:

Kenyan cricket team faces big tests against
Rwanda, Uganda in ICC T20 qualifiers

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan cricket coach Maurice Odumbe hopes to stop his team’s free fall as they take on Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania in the the upcoming East Africa ICC World T20 qualifiers in Kigali.

After a poor showing in Harare, Zimbabwe in April, Odumbe has recalled bowler Elijah Otieno back in the squad after he fell out with Cricket Kenya management over contract and discipline issues.

But he is expected to be the steel around which Odumbe will tie the silver lining of his young squad. Otieno was meant to be part of Kenya’s team to Zimbabwe in April, but missed out.

Otieno will replace Peter Lagat.

Another player to have been dropped is 19-year-old batsman Thomas Ochieng, while wicket-keeper Irfan Karim has failed to travel with the squad, forcing Odumbe to recall Rushab Patel.

The tournament will be played as part of the 2020 ICC World Twenty20 qualification and will also mark the first time that Rwanda will be hosting an International Cricket Council (ICC) tournament.

The week-long tourney will start with Kenya playing Uganda on Saturday and will end on July 15.

The round robin tourney will see the best two teams compete at the Africa Regional Finals, to be held in 2019.

The regional ICC World T20 qualifiers tournament in Rwanda is one of the three African sub-regional events, along with the north-western sub region qualifiers (staged in Nigeria) and the southern sub region qualifiers to be held in Botswana.

The top two teams in each of the three groups will advance to the Africa’s finals tournament, which will determine two countries that will compete at the 2020 ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier.

The ICC in a release said that in general, there will be 12 regional qualifiers across the world, with 62 teams competing during 2018 in five regions - Africa (3 groups), Americas (2), Asia (2), East Asia Pacific (2) and Europe (3).

The top 25 sides from these will then contest five regional finals in 2019, with eight teams then going on to compete in the 2020 ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier, along with the six lowest ranked sides from the current ICC T20 Championship.

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Uganda set to battle in 2020 ICC World Twenty20 eastern Africa region qualifier

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- Uganda’s national cricket team on Thursday set off for neighboring Rwanda where it will battle with other east African countries in the 2020 ICC World Twenty20 Africa Region Qualifier.

Uganda will face off against Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda in the tournament that will run on July 7-14.

The top two teams will represent the eastern African region in the regional finals where the best two African teams will qualify for the 2020 ICC World Twenty20.

Roger Mukasa, captain of the Ugandan team, told Xinhua that they are determined to go all the way to qualify and represent Africa.

“Playing at the ICC World Twenty20 is also our dream as a team,” Mukasa said.

Uganda qualified last month to feature in the more competitive ICC World Cricket League Division 3 after it won the 2018 ICC World Cricket League Division 4 tournament held in Malaysia.

The Rwanda tournament will be played on a double round robin format (teams play each other twice) with the top two sides moving on the next round of qualifiers.

Qualifiers are on-going all over the world with three taking place in Africa. The first African sub-regional qualifier (north-western sub region) was held with hosts Nigeria and Ghana qualifying. The southern sub-region qualifiers will be held in Bostwana.

The top two teams in each group of the three qualifiers will advance to the regional finals tournament, which will determine the two African entrants to the 2020 ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier.

The Ugandan squad includes Roger Mukasa (Captain), Brian Masaba, Hamu Kayondo, Dinesh Nakrani, Deus Muhumuza, Riazat Shah, Irfan Afridi, Henry Ssenyondo, Frank Nsubuga, Kenneth Waiswa, Fred Achelam, Charles Waiswa, Bilal Hassun and Ronak Patel.

           

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