Namibia’s World Cup Journey

Perhaps with the World T20 now finished Namibian cricket can look at what they achieved beyond their three historic wins.   

What is your favourite story about Namibian cricket? 

Maybe it’s that there are just five grounds in the country, and only twelve clubs.

Maybe it’s that Cricket Namibia tweet from @CricketNamibia1 and not @CricketNamibia which has been inactive for ten years. Did they lose the logins and create a new account? 

Perhaps it’s that captain Gerhard Erasmus broke a finger just before the tournament. Not only did he play every game and perform with the bat, but also made key breakthroughs with his spin bowling. 

The latter is pretty good. 

Timing worked for them. Delaying the tournament for a year allowed them to include David Weise and Rubel Trumpelman, who declared for the Eagles through ancestry. Inevitable passport delays due to the pandemic made management sweat. 

Time also worked against them. Assistant coach Albie Morkel acknowledged that bubble life was telling throughout the tournament. Erasmus tweeted pictures of care packages from family. They would run quizzes in the hotel to keep up morale amongst the squad. 

The lost year between qualifying and the delayed World Cup also proved difficult keeping this inexperienced group of players motivated and focused on the goal ahead. But management planned expertly.

Before this tournament Namibia had an amazing collection of wins in warm up series against Uganda, an Emerging South Africa side, an Emerging Zimbabwe side and the Titans, a franchise team from South Africa. 

This is all part of a journey from 2019 when they initially secured ODI status – having lost it – and then qualified for the T20 World Cup. But it isn’t Namibia’s first rodeo. 

In 2003, they co-hosted the 50 over World Cup with South Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe. However the game fell away thereafter – a fate Kenya would also suffer.

With the help of a small but loyal group of fans cricket thankfully did not die out completely.

What next for Namibia? 

Preparation. By virtue of getting through to the Super 12 round, the Eagles have also qualified for the next World T20 in Australia next year. 

Additionally, their success in the 2021 tournament has secured vital funding which will help with infrastructure investment back home.

Erasmus has also spoken ambitiously of spreading the game across the vast country so that it “won’t just be a white man’s sport”, and will crucially add more diversity to their squad. 

Their loyal group of fans can also savour the news that Namibia will co-host the 2027 World Cup with South Africa and Zimbabwe, much like the 2003 edition. But they will be well aware of not letting history repeat itself. 

And their captain can now also finally tend to the broken ring finger on his right hand.

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