ICC Media Release
Namibian cricket seems to be on the up and up these days. Several youngsters have made the most of the opportunities presented to them and preparations for the start of the ICC Intercontinental Cup match against Kenya at Sharjah Stadium on Tuesday could not be going better for Louis Burger's men.
Last week, 19-year-old opener Dawid Botha made his second first-class century when he hit 104 in the second innings against the United Arab Emirates in the same competition, and at the same venue, while 22-year-old Louis Klazinga was the leading Namibia light, ball in hand.
With his right-arm pace, Klazinga has been turning heads so far in his fledgling career – he took 8-32 in a different game against the UAE in the Intercontinental Cup. And he added to that last week, taking another six wickets in the match.
There were also fine performances from three 26-year-olds, opening batsman Jan-Berrie Burger, left-arm seamer Kola Burger and wicketkeeper-batsman Tobias Verwey, giving a very youthful glow to the Namibia scorecard.
The 40-run victory over the UAE means Namibia is now unbeaten after two games and full of confidence ahead of taking on the table-topper Kenya.
'We are happy with how things have gone so far,' said team manager Abe Louw after training on Monday. Back in Namibia we play in the South Africa competition and because our players are not always available, our younger guys have got some exposure and they are really coming through now,' said Louw.
'The average age of the team must be around 24 at the moment and it is all good for the development of this team for the future. We don't know much about this Kenya side as we have not played them in quite a while but we think we have an advantage that the match is being played at a neutral venue.'
The match was moved from Nairobi to Sharjah because of the political unrest in Kenya and it is a situation that has affected the way the Kenya squad has been preparing.
That said, it's a familiar-looking Kenya side, led as usual by the ever-dependable Steve Tikolo. The squad also contains all-rounder and ICC Associate ODI Player of the Year 2007 Thomas Odoyo and will be able to call on the experience of the likes of David Obuya, Peter Ongondo, Hiren Veraiya and Tony Suji.
Kenya got to the final of this event in 2006, when it was beaten by Ireland in Windhoek, and Tikolo is keen to add this title to the ICC World Cricket League Division 1 that his team won in Nairobi early last year.
'We are always a very confident and positive side,' said Tikolo. 'Under the circumstances, preparations have gone as well as we could hope. Our training ground is in a part of Nairobi that has not been badly affected so the players were able to make it to the ground.
'But it is not easy. With everything that is going on in Kenya at the moment, it has taken some of the focus away from cricket,' he said.
'But I am happy with the combinations we have in the team at the moment. We need to be prepared for all eventualities. Namibia did well against the UAE here so we must not underestimate them. Our bowling is coming along well with Thomas, Peter and Lameck (Onyango) all looking good at training. Our batting, too, has shown good improvement with Alex (Obanda), Maurice (Ouma) and David (Obuya) getting plenty of experience even though they are still quite young. It should be a good game and we will give 100 per cent for our country,' said Tikolo.
Namibia (squad): Louis Burger (captain), JB Burger, Louis van der Westhuizen, Kola Burger, Michael du Rand, Raymond van Schoor, Tobias Verwey, Wilber Slabber, Louis Klazinga, Andries Burger, Dawid Botha, Gerrie Snyman, Ian van Zyl, Bjorn Kotze.
Kenya (squad): Steve Tikolo (captain), Thomas Odoyo, Alex Obanda, Maurice Ouma, David Obuya, Collins Obuya, Tony Suji, Peter Ongondo, Alfred Luseno, Jimmy Kamande, Elijah Otieno, Nehemiah Odhiambo, Hiren Veraiya, Lameck Onyango.
Umpires: Darrell Hair and Neils Bagh