Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
THE stage is set for the second edition of the four-nation Old Mutual Heath Streak Africa Under-14 T20 Cricket Cup which starts today in Bulawayo and ends on Tuesday.
The tournament will feature Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and defending champions Zimbabwe.
The visiting teams were expected in Bulawayo last night, with Botswana and Zambia coming by road while Namibia were set to fly through Harare before proceeding to the City of Kings.
Joseph Rego, the academy’s chief executive officer said they are ready to host the competition and called on cricket loving Bulawayo fans to come in their numbers and support up and coming cricketers.
“We’re very excited that the day has finally come and as organisers we’re very much looking forward to staging a memorable tournament.
“The teams will arrive tonight and the matches will start on Saturday at 9AM. People who love cricket should come and see the future stars in action because this will certainly be a great event for the whole family,” Rego said.
The tournament is a platform for young cricketers to showcase their talents and develop their skills.
Rego said the participants were selected through drawing of lots.
“When we started this tournament in 2015, we had three countries and for this year’s edition, eight nations, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique have confirmed their participation in Zimbabwe’s mini-IPL of which four nations were finally selected by a way of a lucky draw,” said Rego.
South Africa, who took part in the first edition, will miss out.
Other countries that competed at the inaugural edition are Botswana and winners Zimbabwe.
The countries that will compete in this year’s edition will run under the following franchises, defending champions Fazak Zimbabwe, Choppies Botswana and Pepsi Zambia. The organisers are still waiting for a corporate to take up Namibia’s franchise.
Zimbabwe senior national cricket coach Heath Streak and local cricketers, who include national team skipper Graeme Cremer, spin bowler John Nyumbu, Sean Williams and pace bowler Christopher Mpofu, are among guests expected to attend the tournament.
The highlight of the competition will be on August 15 when the Africa Cup winners play an exhibition game against the Old Mutual Heath Streak Development team selected from 20 top cricket playing schools from Bulawayo’s high density suburbs. — @ZililoR