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December 7, 2006
The countdown for the 2009 women's World Cup begins this Friday when four African countries will assemble in Nairobi, Kenya for the start of the World Cup regional qualifiers.
Joining the host nation Kenya will be Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Uganda and the one-day competition will be played in a simple round-robin format, with the winner heading to the next qualifying stage, a tournament in Pakistan at the end of next year. Eight teams will vie for two spots at the 2009 World Cup in Australia.
It will be a momentous and historic time for Zimbabwe as they make their international debut under the captaincy of Julia Chibhabha, Zimbabwe Cricket's only female accredited coach and top class allrounder. As part of their preparations, earlier this week the Zimbabwe played a Mashonaland invitation Under-16 boys' side.
Mashonaland batted first and made 200 all out in their allotted 50 overs and, in reply, Zimbabwe were bowled out for a resonable153 on a difficult batting wicket.
The team manager Jimmy Chikange was pleased with the performance. "They lost by a mere 47 runs and for them to lose by that margin on a tough wicket against the colts shows that they are well prepared for Kenya."
Chikange also said he would be relinquishing his post after four years. Joyce Chizano will take over him as the new team manager following the tournament in Kenya.
"It has been very challenging for me," admitted Chikange. "The sport is now being appreciated among more women globally and I think that is an achievement. It would also be fitting for a woman to manage the side in the future."
Zimbabwe ladies depart for Nairobi today [Thursday].
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