Mehluli Sibanda in Harare
ZIMBABWE Cricket chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani is delighted that the Lady Chevrons won the International Cricket Council Women’s Qualifier Africa held in Harare from May 5-12.
The Lady Chevrons beat Namibia by five wickets in the final at Harare Sports Club on Sunday to earn the African ticket to the Global Qualifier to be staged in Scotland from August 31 to September 7.
With Sunday also being Mother’s Day, Mukuhlani said that was the best gift they could give to all women in Zimbabwe.
“It’s quite a pleasant feeling to see our women win the Africa region qualifiers and most importantly on Mother’s Day. That’s the best we can do for our women, that’s the best gift we can give to our mothers and to our wives so it’s a great day for us,” Mukuhlani said.
There were fears that the curse of failing to qualify for a global tournament could come back to haunt Zimbabwe after the men’s team lost out in the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup qualifier after suffering a shock loss to the United Arab Emirates at the same venue in March last year. To Mukuhlani, the win by the women’s team is an indication that the game is still vibrant in the country.
“I think it goes a long way in proving that cricket is alive in Zimbabwe. It was unfortunate we couldn’t make it in the men’s side, but we are alive, there is a lot of cricket being played and as you appreciate that women’s cricket is more of development cricket and it shows what everyone has been crying for. It shows what is actually happening on the ground, results don’t lie and if you want to put it, it has broken that curse of our last year’s disaster when we couldn’t qualify,” he said.
Regarding preparations for the Lady Chevrons before they head off to Scotland, Mukuhlani gave indications that the girls will be afforded adequate game time for them to try and make an impression at the global tournament. Zimbabwe will tour Ireland and Netherlands on their way to Scotland.
“We are obviously going to have a lot of matches for the girls, better preparations in terms of their training. We have a new trainer that will be joining them to beef up their technical staff. (Coach) Adam Chifo has been alone, we have brought in Vusi Sibanda to help him with the batting. We will sit down to look at where he needs to improve,” Mukuhlani said.
He said the fact that they have eight players with contracts in the Lady Chevrons shows that they are serious about women’s cricket.
“We have contracted eight players and that goes to show how important we have taken this game. We now have a permanent technical staff that is led by Chifo.
“You can see the enthusiasm around ZC with regards to ladies cricket and I also think that now that we have won this tournament, we have lifted a cup, it will speak to the nation about women in sport, not only in cricket, but overally we need support.
“We need Zimbabweans to rally behind our women. In any case this is the only sport that we are number two in Africa, without effort. We are only second to South Africa, without effort, without resources.”
Patricia Kambarami, the ICC Africa regional development manager urged Zimbabwe to do the continent proud by doing well in Scotland. Speaking at an awards ceremony on Sunday evening, Kambarami wished Zimbabwe well in Scotland.
“Zimbabwe, please do go and represent Africa, not just Zimbabwe. When you raise that flag, make sure it stays right up there and never comes down because we need one or two more other teams at that level. I would like to wish you the very best when you are in Scotland; show them what we made of, we have it in us, come on girls let’s do it,” Kambarami said.
Zimbabwean player Sharne Mayers was rewarded for her sterling performance as batter and player of the tournament.