African Juggernaut Rolls On To Uganda As Women Take Center Stage

Ugandan cricket team members in celebration after their hard earned win. PHOTO/T20 WORLD CUP AFRICA

African juggernaut moves to Uganda with eight teams to contest ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Africa Qualifier

For the first time, the top two finishers at the African qualifier progress to the Global Qualifier in Dubai next year

Zimbabwe, Namibia, Uganda, and Tanzania enter the tournament as the top four ranked teams

ENTEBBE, Uganda- With the dust having settled on the International Cricket Council (ICC) Men’s T20 World Cup Africa Qualifier in Windhoek where Uganda and hosts Namibia secured coveted spots to the 2024 edition to be held in the West Indies & the USA, the African juggernaut coincidentally rolls on to Uganda next.

The Pearl of Africa will play host to the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Africa Qualifier from 9th to 17th December at the lakeside Entebbe Cricket Oval which is a mere seven-minute drive from the Entebbe International Airport and boasts of a beautiful backdrop of Lake Victoria – the second largest freshwater lake in the world.

Uganda throws a six. PHOTO/T20 WORLD CUP AFRICA

Eight nations; Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and hosts Uganda will contest this qualifier and for the first time, there are two spots up for grabs for the African region as they seek to progress to the Global Qualifiers in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) next year.

Zimbabwe is the favorite in Group A which also has Tanzania, Kenya, and Botswana as the other contenders whereas Namibia, Uganda, Rwanda, and Nigeria are pooled in Group B.

The action will come thick and fast over the nine days as matches alternate between Group A and Group B for the first six match days concluding the group stages. The top teams in each group progress to the semifinals. Those two semi-finals will be bigger than the final itself as the top two teams seal passage to the Global Qualifiers in Dubai 2024.

Namibia hits a six. PHOTO/T20 WORLD CUP AFRICA

Pre-event favorites

Without a doubt, Zimbabwe will start the final regional qualifying event of what has been a busy calendar year as favorites considering their history in this event and meticulous preparation.

Captain Mary-Anne Musonda and the Lady Chevrons have been to the Globals no less than three times with their best finish in 2015 when they finished third – thus narrowly missing out on qualifying for the 2016 World Twenty20.

Their preparations have also been stellar as they’re fresh from a 17-day training camp at the I Can We Can (ICWC) Omtex Cricket Institute in Saphale – Mumbai, India. The zenith of their preparations was the unofficial series against South Africa Emerging Women whom they hosted at Harare Sports Club and despite narrowly losing the five-match duel 3-2, they will be full of belief.

Alongside their leading run scorer Modester Mupachikwa (778), Ashley Ndiraya, Chipo Tiripano, and Precious Marange, Zimbabwe boasts of seasoned campaigners with teenage sensation Kelis Ndhlovu offering the perfect blend in the squad.

The stage is set for her star to shine brightly with Zimbabwe eager to be clinical throughout.

Namibia celebrates a win. PHOTO/T20 WORLD CUP AFRICA

Aiming to break the jinx

Tanzania will be anxious to exorcise its demons of having never been to the Global Qualifier. They won the inaugural African Women championship in 2004 and are a side synonymous with success. The Dar-es Salaam-based side finished second at the 2006 and 2011 African qualifying events, narrowly missing out on the Global event. But now they look primed to finally earn their first ticket.

Their captain Fatuma Omary Kibasu (1,186 runs) is a world beater as she’s only the fifth woman with three T20I centuries and the first from an ICC Associate Member to register three T20I career centuries. In left-hander Saum Godfrey Mtae (620), Kibasu has someone who has more than ably shared the run-scoring responsibility alongside fast-rising Hudaa Omary (483). Perice Zakayo Kamunya, who thrives on hitting impeccable lines and lengths, will be looking to add to her haul of 50 T20I wickets from just 40 innings.

Last month, Tanzania had a good workout at the Quadrangular Series in Hong Kong and they will be thinking that they’ve surely left nothing to chance.

Ugandan cricket team members in celebration after their hard earned win. PHOTO/T20 WORLD CUP AFRICA

New crop for Kenya

Kenya has been away from the international scene for a while but truly showed that they’re still up to the mark when they completed an unbeaten run en route to winning the Africa Division II Qualifier in Botswana this year.

There is a new crop eager to impress with a handful of mainstays including former captain Sharon Juma, Margaret Ngoche, Sylvia Kinyua, and Sarah Bhakita Wetoto, who in 2008 was the second woman to score a ton with a knock of 186 against Rwanda, out of the equation.

Their ambitions to do well will lay in the hands of their poster girl Queentor Abel, who is head and shoulders above anyone else in their set-up when it comes to statistics with 1,024 runs and 59 wickets.

Ugandan cricket team members in celebration after their hard earned win. PHOTO/T20 WORLD CUP AFRICA

Eager to make it count

Botswana will be bubbling with enthusiasm after they upstaged fancied opposition to bag the second slot from the Africa Division II Qualifier earlier in September this year. They beat Malawi and Lesotho in the preliminary round and then bowled their hearts out in the semifinals against Sierra Leone to emerge victors by 17 runs to book their tickets for the Ugandan meet.

They’ve had the best preparations that any outfit from their country has ever had, with a trip to the sub-continent in India as well as several in-squad trial matches.

The quartet of captain Laura Mophakedi, Florence Samanyika, Shameelah Mosweu, and Goabilwe Matome, have players that can single-handedly win matches whereas the three youngsters; Merapelo Phiase, Wendy Moutswi, and Pako Mapotsane bring vibrant energy to the unit.

Namibia celebrates a win. PHOTO/T20 WORLD CUP AFRICA

Lofty ambitions for Eagles

In Group B, the quartet of Namibia, Uganda, Rwanda, and Nigeria will all fancy their chances to finish among the top two sides that will proceed to the semifinals.

Namibia is a proud cricket nation that always set themselves lofty ambitions. They have been to one Global Qualifier in 2019 when they finished second but took Zimbabwe’s place with the latter on ICC suspension.

They will be buoyed on by the recent success of their other national teams in the aftermath of the U-19 Men’s side storming the ICC Men’s U-19 Cricket World Cup scheduled for South Africa next year and the senior men’s team, who ruled the roost in Windhoek, to make it to their third straight T20 World Cup.

Irene van Zyl will lead the well-tutored side that boasts of wicketkeeper batter Yasmeen Khan who has played in the high-profile FairBreak Invitational and is only 75 runs from achieving an individual milestone of 1,000 T20I runs.

Sune Wittmann (813) plays an array of strokes all around the park at the top whereas Merczerly Gorases and Edelle Van Zyl can offer the finishing touches. In Kayleen Green, they have the perfect all-rounder who is the Capricorn Eagles’ fourth-highest run scorer with 690 and leading wicket-taker at 58 scalps in this format.

Coach Francois van der Merwe will also be hoping that the bowling combo of Mekeleya Mwatile and Sylvia Shihepo does stifle the opposition in the power play. 

Tanzania celebrates a win. PHOTO/T20 WORLD CUP AFRICA

Home advantage for Pearls

Hosts Uganda have quietly gone about their business in the build-up to the tournament. Two camps in Jinja, Eastern Uganda with an earlier one in Entebbe have helped build team camaraderie with the youngsters getting to spend more time with their senior counterparts in between holiday breaks from the arduous school obligations.

The Victoria Pearls will draw their inspiration not only from the senior men’s team that broke the jinx and qualified for their first World Cup event but also from the fact that they have ever been to one Global event – Netherlands 2018.

To reach the Netherlands, Uganda pulled off a heist to stun Zimbabwe in the 2017 Africa Qualifier. But years have rolled by and their partisan fans will demand nothing short of qualification.  

Over the last 12 months, the winning mentality has been regained as witnessed with series victories in Nepal, the home Victoria Series, and in Windhoek at the Capricorn Quadrangular with their only blemish being the loss to Rwanda at Kwibuka in Kigali last June.

Their vice-captain Janet Mbabazi and captain Concy Aweko have the most runs and wickets at 797 and 86 respectively for the nation. If close friends Immaculate Nakisuyi, Proscovia Alako, and Stephannie Nampiina can get going early on in the tournament as well as the towering pace bowling duo of Evelyn Anyipo and Irene Alumo, then Uganda should be very hard to beat at home.

Tanzania throws a six. PHOTO/T20 WORLD CUP AFRICA

Rwanda on the rise

Rwanda makes the small voyage from Kigali with a lot of eyes on them across the cricketing world. The majority of their side comprises the history-making side that went to the inaugural ICC U-19 Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa and felled two Test-playing nations; Zimbabwe and West Indies.

Their coach Leonard Nhamburo weaves a magic wand and seems to turn everything he touches into gold. He has scaled the heights with Zimbabwe and Namibia before and will be eager to continue scripting history with Rwanda.

Ishimwe namesakes; Gisele and Henriette alongside captain Diane Marie Bimenyimana must work two-fold and hope that the rest of the squad feeds off their brilliance.

Watch out for Gisele (996 T20I runs) and Henriette, whose immeasurable accuracy has seen her record three hat-tricks in her haul of 64 wickets from 57 innings as well as returning wicketkeeper-cum-batter Flora Irakoze, who will want to make up for her time in the wilderness.

Ronak Patel facing Zimbabwe. PHOTO/T20 WORLD CUP AFRICA

Yellow Greens want to shine

Nigeria women’s cricket has grown in leaps and bounds since its inception in 2011 and they will be expecting to come full cycle at this championship. The Female Yellow Greens will throw caution to the wind as they have nothing to fear.

Their captain Blessing Etim is the face of their women’s game. The first match of the campaign against Namibia on Sunday 10th December will be an emotional one for her as she reaches a personal milestone of 50 T20I career matches.

Their squad is nothing short of talented with Etim (553 runs & 25 wickets), Salome Sunday (709), gifted Lucky Piety (285), Esther Sandy (258), Favour Eseigbe (245 & 36) Rachael Samson (42 wickets) notching impressive numbers and will hope to play to their potential.

Despite playing away from home, Nigeria always has a huge fan following and the support from their vociferous 12th man on the lawns of Entebbe Cricket Oval could prove decisive and forthwith give joy to the 400-plus million West Africans that will be closely following proceedings.

All eyes will be on Entebbe Cricket Oval as these eight teams vie for victory. Cricket enthusiasts can catch every moment as all games will be streamed live on ICC.TV

Ugandan cricket team members in celebration after their hard earned win. PHOTO/T20 WORLD CUP AFRICA


A: Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya, Botswana

B: Namibia, Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria



Laura Mophakedi (c, wk), Onneile Keitsemang, Oratile Kgeresi, Bontle Madimabe

(wk), Pako Mapotsane, Goabilwe Matome, Tebogo Moitoi, Amantle Mokgotlhe,

Shameelah Mosweu, Tebogo Motlhabaphuti, Wendy Moutswi, Merapelo Phiase,

Florence Samanyika, Tuelo Shadrack


Esther Wachira (c), Queentor Abel, Josephine Abwom, Mercy Ahono, Lavendah

Idambo, Melvin Khagoitsa, Kreeshna Mehta, Charity Muthoni (wk), Mary Mwangi

(wk), Jemimah Ndanu, Flavia Odhiambo, Kelvia Ogola, Judith Ogolla, Venasa



Irene van Zyl (c), Naomi Benjamin, Jurriene Diergaardt, Merczerly Gorases,

Kayleen Green, Victoria Hamunyela, Yasmeen Khan (wk), Bianca Manuel,

Mekeleya Mwatile, Sylvia Shihepo, Saima Tuhadeleni, Sune Wittmann, Edelle Van



Blessing Etim (c), Rukayat Abdulrasak, Adeshola Adekunle, Peculiar Agboya,

Christabel Chukwuonye, Favour Eseigbe, Sarah Etim (wk), Victory Igbinedion,

Abigail Igbobie (wk), Lucky Piety, Rachael Samson, Esther Sandy, Salome

Sunday, Lillian Udeh


Diane Marie Bimenyimana (c)Alice Ikuzwe, Flora Irakoze, Rosine Irera, Gisele

Ishimwe, Henriette Ishimwe, Immaculee Muhawenimana, Belise Murekatete,

Zulufat Mutoniwase, Shakila Niyomuhoza, Josiane Nyirankundineza, Marie

Tumukunde, Clarisse Uwase, Merveille Uwase (wk)


Fatuma Kibasu (c), Saum Borakambi, Sophia Jerome, Perice Kamunya, Sheila

Kizito, Aisha Mohamed, Shufaa Mohamedi (wk), Saum Mtae, Hudaa Omary, Agnes

Qwele, Monica Pascal, Neema Pius, Mwajabu Salum, Mwanamvua Ushangaeko


Concy Aweko (c), Janet Mbabazi (vc), Sarah Akiteng, Prosscovia Alako, Irene Alumo,

Lorna Anyait, Evelyn Anyipo, Malisa Ariokot, Kevin Awino (wk), Esther Iloku, Patricia

Malemikia, Rita Musamali, Immaculate Nakisuuyi, Stephanie Nampiina


Mary-Anne Musonda (c), Modester Mupachikwa (wk), Chiyedza Dhururu, Josephine

Nkomo, Precious Marange, Ashley Ndiraya, Nomvelo Sibanda, Kelis Ndhlovu,

Lindokuhle Mabhera, Audrey Mazvishaya, Nyasha Gwanzura, Francisca Chipare, Chipo

Tiripano, Loreen Tshuma


Saturday 9th December

09:30: Zimbabwe vs Kenya

13:50: Tanzania vs Botswana

Sunday 10th December

09:30: Namibia vs Nigeria

13:50: Rwanda vs Uganda

Monday 11th December

09:30: Kenya vs Tanzania

13:50: Botswana vs Zimbabwe

Tuesday 12th December

09:30: Nigeria vs Rwanda

13:50: Uganda vs Namibia

Wednesday 13th December

09:30: Kenya vs Botswana

13:50: Zimbabwe vs Tanzania

Thursday 14th December

09:30: Namibia vs Rwanda

13:50: Uganda vs Nigeria

Saturday 16th December

09:30: Semifinal 1 – A1 vs B2

13:50: Semifinal 2 – B1 vs A2

Sunday 17th December – Finals

09:30: 3rd/4th Playoff Final – Loser Semifinal 1 vs Loser Semifinal 2

13:50: Final – Winner Semifinal 1 vs Winner Semifinal 2

All games will be played at the lakeside Entebbe Cricket Oval.

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