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23.11.2003 Cricket

Ghana seeded to play in 2007 cricket World Cup qualifier

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Accra, Nov. 23, GNA - Defending West Africa Cricket Champions, Ghana, has been seeded to feature alongside seven other African affiliate members of the World Cricket Conference in the 2007 World Cup qualifiers in South Africa in March next year.

The tournament slated for Benoni, South Africa, takes the form of a round robin of two groups of which the winner qualifies for the "associate" stage, made up of eight first-class African cricket countries. The associate members are Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

The first two countries play in Ireland in July 2005 while the third placed team features in the Malaysia competition in February 2005, for a place in the 2007 Cricket World Cup in the West Indies.

Mr David Quagraine, Chairman of the Ghana Cricket Association (GCA) told the GNA Sports in Accra that apart from the qualifiers, the team will be defending the West African Crown in Gambia in April next year and will also play host to the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) from London at the Achimota oval in February.

The MCC used to be the governor of Cricket in the world until the formation of the ICC. It will be the third time the Londoners will play in Ghana after 1976 and 1997.

In separate interviews, the chairman, Captain Eddie Nutsugah and William Hackman, a member, urged government to pump in funds needed for the development and popularisation of the game and to provide the necessary facilities that will qualify the country to an associate level.

Few former national cricket players are running the association without any support from government. I fact, the only time the GCA had some money from government was during the tenure of Mr. Edward Osei-Kwaku, former Sports Minister, which enabled the national cricket team to participate in the WAC competition.

The three gentlemen also urged the Acting Chief Executive of the National Sports Council, Dr Emmanuel Owusu-Ansah, to give the association a substantive General Secretary plus an office, one of the criteria for qualifying for the "associate status".

In a related development, the association has refuted a catalogue of allegations made by some cricketers, who pleaded for anonymity, that the executive has failed to provide radical programmes for the transformation of the game.

In a reaction, Mr Hackman said the boys are peeved apparently because it has been difficult meeting their social needs, which includes feeding and sometimes provides jobs for them, which he said, falls outside the association's purview.

The executive has tried meeting the boys over the last two weeks to resolve their differences and prepare for the programmes ahead but it has not been successful.

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