The national Under-19 cricket team's participation in the International Cricket Council's (ICC) U-19 World Cup qualifiers to be staged in South Africa in August is confronted with a financial hurdle that is in excess of $70,000.
This amount includes the cost of Ghana's participation in a North-West African Tournament in The Gambia to be played between May 11 and 18, which will cost about $21,000, and the South Africa tournament which is in the region of $50,000.
Prince Vaderpuye-Orgle, Chairman of the Ghana Cricket Association (GCA), told the Daily Graphic yesterday that these figures were arrived at after his outfit calculated air fares, per diem, kits, participation fees, transportation and accommodation for a 20-man team.
“We urgently need the support of corporate Ghana because this is a big opportunity which, when explored, can take Ghana to the U-19 Cricket World Cup which will be hosted by either New Zealand or Australia.
The National Sports Council (NSC) has done its best to give us the support from its limited resources over the years and this tournament will be no exception, but corporate Ghana needs to complement their efforts,” Mr Vanderpuye-Orgle said.
According to him, the North-West African tournament is the first of its kind, which was originally supposed to be a West African Quadrangular tournament.
“For the first time we have six nations coming together, and it will be a good platform for the preparation of our team,” he said.
Mr Vanderpuye-Orgle said the bulk of the amount would go into air fares. “For the Gambia trip it will cost us about $8,700 per player, while that of South Africa will cost more than $1,300 per player,” he explained.
In The Gambia, Ghana will compete with Morocco, Mali, Sierra Leone, the hosts, The Gambia, and Nigeria who will also take part in the South Africa qualifiers.
Ghana's participation in the U-19 qualifier was confirmed by Mr Hoosian Ayob, ICC Regional Development Officer for Africa about eight weeks ago.
Seven other nations will participate in the tournament, which is scheduled for August 25-31 at the Willowmore Park Cricket Stadium in Benoni City. They are Botswana, Namibia, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Zambia.
“Ghana has had a good record in international cricket events over the last three years and, with the necessary financial support, she can go to the top.
Apart from Ghana, all the other nations are Associate nations (the ICC's second highest level) and this was a special privilege given Ghana due to her quality of play.
So this is a big chance for Ghana to make a giant leap on the international scene,” the GCA Chairman said.
Story by Nathaniel Attoh