The Veterans Cricket Association of Namibia (VCAN) has revealed its anticipation as their maiden Over 40s squad prepares to engage in the debut Over 40s Africa Cup tournament scheduled to take place in Pretoria, South Africa, spanning from November 26th to December 1st.
Under the captaincy of Nicolaas Buys, a thirteen-member team, comprising individuals aged 40 and above actively engaged in club cricket in Namibia and South Africa, is geared up for the event. Buys expressed the team’s ambition: “We aim to exhibit a competitive spirit and evolve collectively during the Africa Cup, serving as a stepping stone for us ahead of the Over 40s World Cup scheduled in Cape Town next year.”
The team is under the tutelage of Norbet Manyande, formerly a coach for Namibia’s u19 team and the VCAN’s Over 50s team in the recent World Cup. Coach Manyande conveyed optimism, stating, “We boast a talented player cohort capable of raising the Namibian flag high. Most members possess extensive game knowledge accumulated through years of active participation.”
Johan Nel, a player of the Over 40s Africa Cup team, emphasized the ethos of Veterans Cricket, highlighting, “It promotes a healthy and enjoyable lifestyle for cricketers who may face mobility challenges but continue to compete among peers.”
Louis Nortje, Chairman of the VCAN, underscored the significance of Veterans Cricket in enlarging Namibia’s player pool and enhancing competitiveness within club leagues. Nortje remarked, “Veteran players, having tasted World Cups and higher-level play, are inspiring younger cricketers in Namibia to reach greater heights.”
Buys acknowledged the hurdles faced by the Over 40s team in assembling a cohesive squad due to diverse club and league affiliations across different countries. However, he affirmed the team’s determination, stating, “We’re eager for the challenge and excited to measure ourselves against formidable opponents.”
Coach Manyande acknowledged the upcoming challenge at the Africa Cup, emphasizing the task of enduring four 45-over games in five days while consistently matching up against cricket powerhouses like South Africa and Zimbabwe, ranked higher and recognized as test-playing nations.
While both the Africa Cup and next year’s World Cup remain self-funded ventures, Nortje emphasized the rarity of this experience for many players, most of whom haven’t represented their country before. Johan Nel echoed this sentiment, highlighting the players’ commitments to their professional careers and families, making time and financial resources particularly precious.
The VCAN’s Over 40s team is gearing up for next year’s World Cup, eager to take on cricketing giants such as England, India, Sri Lanka, South Africa, and Australia. Nel sees this as an invaluable opportunity to compete against top-tier nations and face players with elite-level experience.
Nel stressed the significance of financial support to facilitate the team’s participation in the World Cup, given that players are currently self-funding their involvement. He appealed for any assistance to help alleviate the financial burden and ensure maximum participation from the squad.
The VCAN’s journey into the Over 40s Africa Cup signifies a remarkable milestone for Namibian veterans, poised to showcase their enduring passion for cricket on the international stage while facing formidable opposition and aiming to leave an indelible mark in the world of veteran cricket.