Cricket: Coach Irungu laments absence of nations at continental event

Cricket

Kenya U-19 players Manav Devani (left) and Vaibhav Naresh training at Nairobi Sikh Union on September 23, 2022.

Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Coach Irungu’s boys progressed as the pool’s leader with six points, having last Friday defeated Malawi by 286 runs.
  • It is the only match that Kenya has played thus far in the competition that started last Friday and ends on Saturday.

Kenya’s coach Josphat Irungu has regretted the absence of Mozambique and Ghana at the 2024 International Cricket Council (ICC) Under-19 Men’s Cricket World Cup Africa Division Two qualifiers in Abuja, Nigeria.

Irungu Tuesday said the no-show by Mozambique and Ghana in the competition being staged in the two cricket pitches at MKO Abiola Stadium has denied his boys the opportunity to “fully express themselves” in their Group “A” contest.

The two countries, which are not featuring in the qualifiers due to lack of visas, had been pooled in Group “A” alongside Kenya and Malawi.

As a result, Kenya and Malawi progressed to the semi-finals stage of the competition, having all been awarded walkovers against the two missing nations.

Coach Irungu’s boys progressed as the pool’s leader with six points, having last Friday defeated Malawi by 286 runs.

It is the only match that Kenya has played thus far in the competition that started last Friday and ends on Saturday.

“We did not like the walkovers. It interfered with our plan because we wanted the boys to express themselves fully in the games,” said Irungu.

In Friday’s semi-finals, Kenya will take on either Nigeria or Sierra Leone.

Nigeria and Sierra Leone were Tuesday scheduled to battle it out for the top position in Group “A”.

Ahead of the clash at MKO Abiola Stadium A, the two countries were joint top on unassailable four points. But Nigeria were ranked ahead thanks to a higher run rate.

Irungu said they have only kept themselves busy through training and they hope to carry the day on Friday.

He said lack of enough grounds has denied the opportunity to play friendlies.

Only the top three teams at the end of the contest will progress to the final round of the World Cup Africa qualifiers – Division One where only the winning side will clinch the sole ticket to the global event.

Awaiting in Division One are Namibia, Tanzania and Uganda.

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