Kenya look to qualify for World Cup

By francis marangu
Jan 02, 2022
  • National team coaches Martin Suji and Steve Tikolo(right)at a team's training session at Ruaraka Sports Club.(Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • National Cricket team player Collins Obuya in action as Wicketkeeper Irfan Karim witness at Ruaraka Sports Club.(Photo by Shutterspeed)

Kenya is determined to secure one of the two tickets up for grabs at the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers set for New Zealand from January 13 to February 1.

Player-cum-coach Steve Tikolo who has been handling the team on an interim basis following the resignation of Robin Brown in December is optimistic of his teams chances.

The Zimbabwean coach quit together with captain Collins Obuya, who has been replaced by Rakep Patel, after failing to lead the team to the ICC World Twenty20 Championships slated for this year in Bangladesh.

Kenya ranked eleventh in the qualifying tournament that was held in Dubai.

Tikolo has been taking the team through rigorous training and even welcomed Gary Kirsten and Mudassar Nazar from the ICC Academy in Dubai for a 10-day training camp last month as part of the preparations.

With two weeks to the tournament, Tikolo who represented the country in five world cups as a player believes his team has what it takes to compete against the world’s best. “We’ve been gearing up really well for the CWCQ,” he was quoted on the International Cricket Council’s official website.

“Ever since we returned from the UAE, we have been working hard to make sure we perfect the areas we didn’t do well.”

Some of the key areas of concern that Tikolo has been working on in training include fitness with regular gym sessions, simulation, one-on-one technical sessions as well as video analysis sessions.

He lauded the input of Kirsten and Nazar for the short time they were with the team in Nairobi. “Our sessions with the coaches have also been really productive.

Gary has stressed on strategies and the mental aspect of the game while Mudassar has worked on the technical and tactical aspects.”

Tikolo hopes that the two warm up matches they will play against Hong Kong on January 10 and Nepal a day later will work to their advantage.

Uganda and Namibia,other African teams 

The two weeks event will bring together ten teams with a total of 34 matches to be played. Namibia and Uganda are the other African teams joining Kenya with the rest of the pack comprising Canada, Hong Kong, Nepal, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Scotland and United Arab Emirates.

The teams have been pooled into groups of five teams each where the first three in each group will proceed to the Super Sixes stage. Kenya opens its campaign on January 13 against Papua New Guinea before facing Namibia on January 17.

On January 19, Kenya will face-off with Uganda and finish off the group matches against Netherlands on January 23. Organizers have predicted a highly competitive tournament this year.

“I am certain this is going to be a fantastic event here in New Zealand. Many of the top Associate and Affiliate Members are evenly matched and I am expecting some thrilling matches during the tournament,” said ICC President Mr Alan Isaac.

Full Fixtures: January 13- Netherlands vs Uganda, Kenya vs Papua New Guinea, UAE vs Nepal, Scotland vs Hong Kong; January 15- Netherlands vs Namibia, UAE vs Canada; January 16- Papua New Guinea vs Uganda, Scotland vs Nepal; January 17- Namibia vs Kenya, Canada vs Hong Kong; January 19- Kenya vs Uganda, Papua New Guinea vs Netherlands, Hong Kong vs Nepal, UAE vs Scotland; January 21- Namibia vs Uganda, Canada vs Nepal; January 23- Papua New Guinea vs Namibia, Scotland vs Canada, Netherlands vs Kenya, UAE vs Hong Kong;