The Continental Cup T20-Africa trophy was officially launched this morning with the customary captains’ photoshoot accompanying it at the Gymkhana Cricket Ground.
The tournament will bowl off tomorrow, and the hosts Kenya will get it rolling against Rwanda in the morning while Uganda will play Botswana in the afternoon.
The tournament is a first of it’s kind in Kenya, but it will act as a preparation event for the World Cup Regional Qualifiers due Namibia in November as three of the participating teams will take part in that Qualifier.
At the trophy launch, Cricket Cranes Captain Brian Masaba insisted Uganda being the highest ranked nation at the event doesn’t put the team under any pressure.
“As a team, we understand that the rankings count for nothing. it is the team that shows up on the day that will take the game so it is important for us to go out there to play to our standards.
“We know what our standards are, we know how well we can play, so it is important that we go out there and execute that.”
Rwanda is the least ranked team in this event. Their captain Clinton Rubagumya says that status is just a ‘plus’ for them.
“Being the least ranked team is actually a plus for us. It means we can only go up. The pressure is not on us, but if anyone thinks that just because we are the lowest ranked, they will get easy wins, they’re in for a shock.”
For the Botswana captain Karabo Mothlanka, they want to show that Botswana belongs to list A of Associate cricket.
“For us, we’ve really come here to show our worth. These teams are all going for the African Qualifiers later this year, so it is a chance for us to also put our game out there and say that we also belong there. We want to show that we’ve come here to bring good cricket.”
Kenya might be the hosts, but their Captain Rakep Patel insists their major goal in this tournament is not to win it.
“We are not under pressure to win the trophy. Our focus really is on the tournament coming ahead, and we want to start the processes now. So we might try new things. Winning this tournament is important, but we are mostly preparing for November, to be consistent enough and win every game we play.”