Namibia’s senior cricket side, The Eagles, are all set, ready and in high spirits ahead of this year’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup slated for Australia from 16 October to 13 November.
Speaking to New Era Sport on the sidelines of a special dinner ceremony hosted by Desi Dhaba Restaurant in the capital in honour of the team, Eagles pacer Ben Shikongo reaffirmed the team’s readiness to leave a mark at the 2022 World Cup, saying they have been working hard to ensure they remain at their peak.
The owners of the Desi Dhaba eatery recreated their menus with pictures of The Eagles team members, as a token of appreciation and recognition for their accomplishments.
“Physically and mentally, we have always been ready but seeing my face on the food menu here at Desi Dhaba inspired me even more. It is something I have never seen before. Knowing Namibia and cricket, it will be good to know that the nation has our backs; a cheer goes a long way,” said Shikongo, one of the country’s most promising bowlers.
His teammate, batsman Stephen Baard said that competing at this year’s World Cup will be a mammoth assignment, but they however remain ready for the task at hand.
“Being mentally strong for these games is key. There is a need to think properly and to strategise as well as work together as a team. That requires strong mental preparation, which is something that makes us ready for the big stage,” said Baard.
All-Rounder Helao ‘Pikky’ Ya France added that: “This is an amazing initiative by Desi Dhaba and it’s a huge morale boost going to this competition. Placing our faces on their menus is good exposure, considering how important food is for athletes and for us to be there ahead of the World Cup. It’s an indescribable feeling.”
He continued: “We have prepared well for the World Cup; mentally and physically. We are in a good space. I believe we will make it to the Super 12 like we did the last time. We have nothing to lose going into this tournament, all we need to do is duplicate the success of last year and expose cricket more in Namibia.”
Divan la Cock, an opening batsman, also praised Desi Dhaba for the great initiative, saying it is important to promote cricket locally through such partnerships.
“With more sponsorships and endorsement, local cricket stands a greater chance of growing even further. Support from home will always mean so much to the team and that’s what we are looking for. I can equally guarantee that we are mentally and physically ready. We have trained and rested well and can’t wait to represent the Land of the Brave at the World Cup,” said La Cock.
The tournament, which will see The Eagles of Namibia facing the likes of Sri Lanka, the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Group A of Round 1, was originally scheduled to take place in 2020.
However, in July of the same year, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced the tournament had been postponed to 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Eagles will get their campaign underway on the opening day of the tournament with a clash against Sri Lanka, before going on to face the Netherlands on 18 October and the UAE on 20 October. The Eagles will depart for Australia end of this month.
Group B consists of Ireland, Scotland, West Indies and Zimbabwe. The ICC T20 World Cup currently consists of 16 teams, comprising the top 10 teams from the world rankings at the given deadline and six other teams chosen through the T20 World Cup Qualifiers. The event is generally held every two years.
Australia are the current defending champions, having beaten New Zealand in the 2021 final to win their first title.