Erasmus proud of Namibia

Namibia celebrate with the trophy. Photo: Helge Schütz

Namibia Richelieu Eagles captain Gerhard Erasmus praised his players and Cricket Namibia’s support staff after they qualified for their third successive T20 World Cup on Thursday.

Namibia completed an unbeaten campaign with a comprehensive eight-wicket victory against Nigeria, while Uganda also sealed their first-ever qualification for the world cup with a nine-wicket win against Rwanda.

Namibia finished on top of the log on 12 points from six matches, while Uganda came second on 10 to grab the two qualifying spots for the 2024 T20 World Cup in the United States and the West Indies.

The pre-tournament favourites, Zimbabwe, failed to make the grade after losing to Namibia and Uganda to finish third on eight points, while they were followed by Kenya (6 points), Nigeria (3), Tanzania (2) and Rwanda (1).

“It’s absolutely brilliant. I don’t think I could have asked for any more from the players and the staff in the background of Cricket Namibia.

“We’ve had a really good campaign and a really good year. We have now qualified for our third T20 World Cup in a row, and I think everyone involved really deserves it,” Erasmus said afterwards.

“The T20 World Cup is an immense occasion as we’ve seen in the last two editions, and there are opportunities, not only for the individuals, but for all of us to continue to grow as a cricketing nation.

“I’m lost for words for what the guys continue to do . . . I’m just immensley proud of everyone,” he said.

Namibia’s greatest achievement at the World Cup so far came in October last year when they beat test nation Sri Lanka by 55 runs, and Erasmus said he believes they can pull off a few more shocks.

“I think we definitely can. If we put in as much hard work, and if you invest as much as these players and the people at Cricket Namibia do, then good things will come your way. We are so excited to go and play on the world stage against the best countries in the world, and our next aim is to be even better and to make it to the quarter-finals and take it on from there.

“We’ve got full confidence in our abilities these days, and I’m just immensley proud of how everyone continues to grow in the organisation,” he said.

Uganda captain Brian Masaba, meanwhile, said it was a special occasion for Ugandan cricket.

“ . . . because this is the first time that a senior men’s team has made it to the world cup. I can’t put into words the emotions and feelings the team is going through right now.

“It’s been a lot of hard work and sacrifice, so to finally make it to the world cup is very special,” he said.

“It’s put Ugandan cricket on the map and obviously there’s been a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes, but to make it to the world cup, it doesn’t get bigger than that,” he said.

Masaba also had a word of praise for former Namibian star all-rounder Craig Williams, who assisted them as a batting consultant during their campaign.

“Craig has been superb for us, having played here over so many years. He brought a lot of experience to the set-up, regarding local conditions, and some of the teams that we played against.

“But generally, just his experience as a cricketer was very useful to tap into, and the eagerness and enthusiasm that he brought to the set-up, because he’s a guy who likes to win.

“From day one he told us I’m here to go to the world cup, and I’m really glad the team backed him up with that message and pulled it off.”

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