Ghana’s U-19 cricket team was at the weekend crowned champions of the 2016 International Cricket Council (I.C.C) Africa Division Two cricket tournament held in Benoni South Africa, after defeating Nigeria by 10 wickets in the final game.
Buoyed by the presence of Ghana’s ambassador to South Africa, Kwesi Ahwoi, the lads made 28 runs for zero in 4.3 overs in the second innings to outran Nigeria’s 27 runs for 10 wickets in 15.4 overs to emerge as winners.
The unbeaten Ghana team opened their account with victories over Botswana, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Rwanda and a resounding 120 runs victory over Tanzania last Thursday to go top of the table, leading by 4 points ahead of Saturday’s finale.
Ghana’s Joseph Aboagye, was adjudged the best bowler of the tournament having bowled 294 balls out of six games, given away 107 runs, taking 21 wickets, making three times of 5 wickets in a match in 9 maidens with an average of 5.10 and scoring rate of 14.00.
His sterling performance further earned him the most valuable player of the tournament having made 1.08 batting and 71.91 bowling. He joins compatriot Kelvin Marko Awala as the only Ghanaian players selected among the 12-man Dream Team of the tournament with Kelvin Marko Awala placing second on the fielding chart with 5 catches.
Vice president of Ghana Cricket Association (GCA) Mr. Kwame Asare, expressed delight at the display of Team Ghana at the tournament, noting that the success was as a result of a long term preparation and dedication on the part of the playing body as well as the technical team and the GCA.
According to him, cricket in Ghana is in the ascendency and with the efforts by the GCA together with youth cricket academies such as Nsoroma Cricket Academy, Turf Cricket Academy, Teshie Cricket Academy and City Cricket Club, they have been able to produce young talents who have raised the flag of Ghana and made sure Ghana qualifies for the ICC Africa Division One stage.
Ghana would join other great cricket nations at the ICC Africa Division One stage next year in a yet to be named country for qualification to the ICC U-19 World Cup to be staged in New Zealand from January 12 to February 4, 2018.
The team is expected to arrive to a rousing welcome today at the Kotoka International Airport where officials from the Youth and Sports Ministry as well as the GCA and cricket loving fans will be on hand to give them a heroic welcome.
By Raymond Ackumey