Kenya faces a stern test to win one of the two tickets up for grabs at this year’s International Cricket Council (ICC) men’s Twenty20 World Cup Africa final qualifiers.
Uganda’s capital Kampala will host the week-long tournament, which starts on May 19-24 with six teams battling it out.
Kenya’s captain Shem Ngoche says they are under no pressure but will not allow complacency to creep into his squad, which will come up against Namibia, Botswana, Nigeria, Ghana and the hosts Uganda.
“The team is united and we hope to merge winners to secure the ticket to T20 World Cup. This is a best chance foe the local players to showcase their talent and prove Kenya is still a powerhouse in the sport, especially in Africa,” said Ngoche, Thursday in Nairobi.
Kenya team departs on Friday to Kampala.
“The six countries will square off in the Africa final as the Road to Australia 2020 continues. The top two nations will secure a place T20 World Cup final qualifiers in United Arab Emirates (UAE), which is just one step away from the T20 World Cup-proper,” said a statement from ICC.
Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria and hosts Uganda came through sub-regional qualifiers last year to reach the Africa Final where they will face off in a 15-match contest in Kampala playing under the round-robin format, where each team will play the other.
Botswana captain, Karabo Mothlanka told ICC his side has been practicing three times a week.
“We have had six preparation matches against two different opponents – one being the Silicon Valley X Factors from the USA and the second being Matableland Tuskers from Zimbabwe. We are an outsider for qualification but we bring with us the confidence from the last tournament, so we will definitely be there to give it a go,” said Mothlanka.
The two finalists in Kampala will book tickets to compete in the ICC men’s Twenty20 World Cup qualifiers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) this year from October 11 to Nov. 3.
The Africa Final qualifiers will join Papua New Guinea, UAE, Hong Kong of China, Ireland, Netherlands, Oman, Scotland and Zimbabwe in the global qualifier.
In the UAE, six teams will qualify for the 2020 Twenty20 World Cup set to be held in Australia.
Australia and nine other top-ranked sides – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and West Indie s- secured direct qualification to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2020.