October 3, 2009

World Cricket League

WCL Division Three begins in Malawi

George Binoy

Tony Munro

Apartheid decreed Hoosain Ayob, the first ICC Africa development officer, cape coloured and reputedly a bowler of some talent in his day, would never play for his native South Africa at international level because of the colour of his skin.

In a tournament in Blantyre, Malawi, starting on Saturday, four of the five teams playing will be fielding mainly African XIs, thanks chiefly to the work of Ayob, who retired from his role about three years ago.

Lesotho and Sierra Leone (both fully indigenous), Gambia (12 locals), Rwanda (8 born there) will be joined by hosts Malawi (mainly Asian) in the World Cricket League Division Three tournament.

Perhaps none of these countries will make a proper World Cup (Sierra Leone did qualify for the recent Under 19 qualifying tournament before Canadian immigration officials turned them back). It shows, though, how far these countries have come in their development.

No longer are African teams (Malawi aside) stacked with 'mature' players from the subcontinent. Sierra Leone features allrounder Lasmin Lansana, who has done well in previous African tournaments, 11 players under 25 and just two over 30.

Seven of the Gambian team are under 25 and only two over 30 while Rwanda have eight players who are not yet 25. Morocco would have been the sixth team in the tournament but were reportedly stopped from proceeding further en route by Qatar immigration officials due to visa issues, necessitating a bye. Again, their team had only Arabs.

The top two teams will be promoted to Division Two.

The draw:
Saturday, October 3 - Rwanda v Gambia, Malawi v Lesotho, Sierra Leone bye
Sunday, October 4 - Sierra Leone v Gambia, Rwanda v Malawi, Lesotho bye
Monday, October 5 - Sierra Leone v Lesotho, Gambia v Malawi, Rwanda bye
Tuesday, October 6 - Sierra Leone v Malawi, Lesotho v Rwanda, Gambia bye
Wednesday, October 7 - Sierra Leone v Rwanda, Lesotho v Gambia, Malawi bye

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Posted by colin macbeth on (October 3, 2009, 16:53 GMT)

I wholly concur with Tony's comments about Hoosain Ayob, who was truly a powerhouse of African cricket development. I have seen him at work in both Zambia and Lesotho - as well as at his office in Ilovo - and there never was a more hard-working man. He virtually single-handedly brought cricket back to Lesotho and, with national youth coach Saidi Malama, he in Zambia proved an inspiration. His successor has had a hard job to fill.

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George Binoy
Assistant Editor After a major in Economics and nine months in a financial research firm, George realised that equity, capital and the like were not for him. He decided that he wanted to be one of those lucky few who did what they love at work. Alas, his prodigious talent was never spotted and he had to reconcile himself to the fact that he would never earn his money playing cricket for his country, state or even district. He jumped at the opportunity to work for ESPNcricinfo and is now confident of mastering the art of office cricket

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