East Asia Pacific U-19 qualifier dates announced
The ICC East Asia - Pacific (EAP) office have confirmed the dates for the 2007 ICC EAP U-19 World Cup Qualifier hosted by Vanuatu Cricket Association in Port Vila. The tournament will take place from July 17 to 24, 2007.
Confirmed countries participating in this tournament are Fiji, Japan, Papua New Guinea and tournament hosts Vanuatu, with the winner earning direct entry to the 2008 Under-19 World Cup.
ICC EAP Regional Development Manager, Mr Matt Weisheit reported "We are delighted that Vanuatu will be hosting this significant ICC East Asia - Pacific U-19 tournament in July 2007. For Vanuatu, this follows the successful staging of the 2005 EAP Cricket Cup tournament and we see this tournament as building on the progress Vanuatu is making in terms of cricket development both on and off the field.
"With the winner of this EAP tournament progressing directly to the U19 Cricket World Cup means that this will be a hotly contested tournament. The lure of participating in a World Cup will provide significant motivation for the Countries involved and as such this is one of the major tournaments on the 2007 EAP Cricket Calendar".
Vanuatu Cricket Association (VCA) President, Mr Mark Stafford, said that the tournament will provide a valuable boost for the growth of the sport in Vanuatu. "We have focussed on developing our junior cricket programs and structures, and hosting the ICC EAP U-19's World Cup qualifier complements our ambitions to cultivate a strong junior base. This will provide us an opportunity to improve our ability to compete internationally and also promote the sport locally.
"It is imperative that we secure government and corporate support for this tournament, as there are a number of areas that Vanuatu cricket needs to improve in. Besides, the importance of a strong on-field performance, it is also necessary for us to improve our facilities and enhance our reputation as a well organised cricket organisation, to achieve this we need community involvement and support."
Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa