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November 4, 2008
The chief executive of Namibia Cricket, Laurie Pieters, has blamed Namibia's inferior professional setup for their defeat against Ireland in the final of the ICC Intercontinental Cup on Sunday.
"We are obviously disappointed that we did not win the cup because that was our intention," Pieters told Namibia Sport, "but the fact that Namibia is not in the ICC's High Performance programme had a lot to do with it."
The top six Associate member countries each received US$350,000 over the past year under the ICC's High Performance programme. A small sum in the grand scheme of things but, for Associate cricket, this amounts to relative riches. Namibia, on the other hand - who are ranked in the top ten of Associates - only received US$50,000 from the ICC over the past year.
"The additional funding helped to improve Ireland's cricket, since they received professional coaching and played more international matches against top teams like England, the West Indies, New Zealand and South Africa. This gave them more exposure at the highest level and taught them to handle and apply the pressure better," he said.
"We must improve our ODI ranking. If we can reach top four or even the top six status, it will make a big difference. From next year it is expected that the top four Associate member countries will receive US$600,000 per year, while the fifth and sixth ranked nations will each receive US$500,000. If we can reach that level it will make a huge difference to our efforts to professionalise cricket in Namibia."
Namibia were deserved finalists in this year's ICC Intercontinental Cup, but Pieters was clear about their path to future success: playing against the world's best teams.
"We will continue to try and piggy back on tours to South Africa and Zimbabwe by other Test-playing nations," he said. "We tried to get Bangladesh, who are currently touring South Africa, to play here, but their programme was too full. Next year Australia will tour South Africa in April and we will like to invite them to play here, en route to South Africa."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.