April 17, 2007


Gambia to host Championships

Martin Williamson

The Gambia will host the North-West African Cricket Championship between May 11 to May 18. Six countries - Mali, Morocco, Sierra-Leone, Nigeria, Ghana and the Gambia - are expected to take part in the championship which will be the first of its kind on the continent.


Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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Posted by Richie on (April 28, 2007, 8:50 GMT)

Bravo crciket le afrique. C'est decision magnifique.

Posted by Steven Davies-Morris on (April 22, 2007, 20:04 GMT)

It's a long road for any nation to get to ODIs. If one goes and reads the ICC progress path for nations beyond the 6 that made it to the recent WC it becomes apparent that they have to jump through hoops (with only token financial assistance) to get within sniffing range of the ICC qualifying tournament. If we really want to get all puffy about minnow nations playing the big guys, it was what? 25 years after it played its first test in 1930 before NZ won a test match. And another 15 years or so before it won its first test series. So I think the aspiring small fry of today should be cut some slack.

For comparison look at Sri Lanka. How far have they come in 15 years? Going into the 1993 World Cup they were still regarded as a minnow, even though they'd been playing tests for a few years. 30 years ago they were playing at the standard shown by Bermuda in CWC2007. The other minnow teams that played in CWC2007 are *much* better than SL were in the 76 and 79 World Cups. And on par with the 83 and 89 SL teams IMO. They're better than Zimbabwe was too, but since the Zims have backslid because of the terrible internal political situation (not the fault of their players or coaches) comparing to them is a bit pointless.

Anyway, good luck with this tournament. Small beginnings, but one day some of these nations will get there. Other African nations like Uganda and Tanzania are knocking on the door. I'll have to check the dates but I'm pretty sure that in the general time frame of this tournament in Gambia, the ICC WCL Division 3 feeder tournament will be played in Darwin (Oz).

[checks schedule]

Here it is: Division 3 will be staged in Darwin from May 27 to June 2 with the top two teams progressing to WCL Division 2, a 6-team round-robin event to be staged in Namibia from 23 November - 1 December 2007 (feeding to the ICC WC qualifying tournament in 2008).

Group A. Papua New Guinea (1), Fiji (3), Italy (6) and Argentina (8)

Group B. Uganda (2), Hong Kong (4), Cayman Islands (5) and Tanzania (7).

If Uganda and Tanzania weren't going to Oz, they'd no doubt be playing (and be the favourites) to win the Gambia tournament. But even they have a long road to travel to even deserve to go up against Ireland, Scotland, Holland, Kenya, Canada, etc. So don't expect to see any of these other very new boys at the WC any time soon. ;-)

Posted by Rich B on (April 21, 2007, 18:04 GMT)

What tosh! As cricket takes so long to develop in emerging nations that's all the more reason to get started now.

If the ICC were purely wanting to make money, they wouldn't bother investing in North Africa anyway. This tournament is about allowing cricketers from African nations to play each other, no more, no less. No one's going to be suggesting an ODI series with Australia for the winners.

Posted by Khurram Habib on (April 19, 2007, 16:10 GMT)

Good for cricket. I just came across this comment. Perhaps, for the good of the game, I might have to differ. Trust me, nothing thrills one when average teams begin playing a sport and then, give tons of runs away to opponents. We've seen so 200-plus run margins of victory in the World Cup in West Indies already. So, why bring the level of cricket down and give false hopes.

Unfortunately, cricket, unlike soccer takes a while to permeate into the society. You need infrastructure and equipment to become a good quality team and it can take years.

North-west Africa doesn't need cricket. It has great footballing talent. Lust for making money should avoided and I am sorry to say that the governors of the game are not paying attention to the quality of the game. We have Zimbabwe, Kenya, Holland and some others with ODI status. And they are struggling. You need to strengthen cricket in these nations first and then think about spreading it. World Cup soccer is much better-fought than cricket world cup. We need to check this.

Look at Bangladesh. It's six years since they got Test status and they haven't yet won a one-dayer each against all Test playing nations leave alone Tests. They haven't beaten England, neither New Zealand.

Posted by Udayan Sanyal on (April 18, 2007, 15:17 GMT)

This is good for African cricket.

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Martin Williamson
Executive editor Martin Williamson joined the Wisden website in its planning stages in 2001 after failing to make his millions in the internet boom when managing editor of Sportal. Before that he was in charge of Sky Sports Online and helped launch and run Sky News Online. With a preference for all things old (except his wife and children), he has recently confounded colleagues by displaying an uncharacteristic fondness for Twenty20 cricket. His enthusiasm for the game is sadly not matched by his ability, but he remains convinced that he might be a late developer and perseveres in the hope of an England call-up with his middle-order batting and non-spinning offbreaks. He is now managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group as well as his Cricinfo responsibilities.

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