Covid-19-related restrictions on sports in Namibia have caused significant disruption to Cricket Namibia’s (CN) training and sporting competitions.
CN, however, used the lockdown to upskill staff, players and coaches as well as implemented a hybrid office environment, among other successes.
The federation said, in a statement issued recently, that during the lockdown in 2020, they shifted focus to upskill and build capacity of nine administrative staff and seven players through online courses, while 281 coaches were trained and a digital coaching high-performance programme was adapted.
“We are happy that these initiatives ensured that Cricket Namibia received recognition as regional winners as the Best ICC Initiative in 2020,” read the statement following its annual general meeting held on 3 July 2021.
CN chief executive Johan Muller was quoted in the statement saying recent highlights are the higher operational level of administration, building relationships with all stakeholders, the increase in youth participation and growth of commercial partnerships.
He said they completed both the 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 club seasons, and introduced new school tournaments in the form of National APS Sixes, the National Week as well as a junior club structure.
“Our Ashburton mini-cricket programme increased from 26 000 to 40 000 players, and our girls and women’s programmes took shape,” added Muller.
He said they managed to get the national men and Capricorn Eagles back onto the playing field at the recently held Kwibuka tournament, and the impressive inbound Eagles tours against Uganda and the Emerging Proteas.
The federation further hailed the establishment of various subcommittees, which they describe as key for the inclusivity and efficiency of programmes. CN now has sub-committees for scorers, umpires, women, schools, coaches and veterans’ cricket.
CN President Dr Rudie van Vuuren said women and girls’ cricket has gone from strength to strength in 2021.
“We incorporated women’s cricket fully into the CN structure, and we are proud of their performance at the Kwibuka tournament. The Capricorn Eagles made it to the final in the Kwibuka tournament but lost in the final against Kenya. Five Eagles players were included in the team of the tournament – Sune Wittmann was the tournament leading run-scorer and Victoria Hamunyela took the second most wickets in the tournament,” he said.
Van Vuuren added that in May 2021, Muller presented to the ICC Global hour on fan engagement and high-performance strategies.
“This presentation was well received that Cricket Australia was interested to use it as a case study for good corporate governance. This is an incredible feather in the cap of CN,” he noted.
Van Vuuren said they look forward to the men’s series against the Zimbabwe A, Titans and Knights in August and September 2021 before they head off to Dubai and Oman for the T20 World Cup.
Meanwhile, CN was recently awarded the ICC Africa regional winner of the ICC Development Initiative of the year as well as the ICC Digital Fan Engagement of the year accolades.