Africa Qualifier Preview – Can Namibia make it three in a row?

The last two spots at the 2024 T20 World Cup are up for grabs, with seven teams from Africa competing for them

And just like that, we’ve reached the final qualifier for the 2024 T20 World Cup. A journey that started even before qualification for the 2022 T20 World Cup completed with the European sub-regional qualifiers is about to reach its end.

Eighteen teams have already qualified, either at the 2022 T20 World Cup or thorugh one of four regional finals. The fifth and final regional tournament is the Africa Regional final, taking place in Namibia. Seven teams, out of twenty who participated in the African qualification structure are yet to seal their fate, with two berths on the line at the final tournament.

Of the seven, two arrived at this tournament after playing at the 2022 event in Australia: hosts Namibia and Zimbabwe. Whilst Namibia were eliminated in the first round with a 1-2 record, Zimbabwe made the Super 12s, defeated Pakistan but ultimately finished bottom of their group, missing out on direct qualification.

The two Southern African sides arrive at the tournament as strong favourites to qualify – Zimbabwe seeking their 7th tournament and Namibia their third in a row. After an intense 5-match T20I series between the two sides in Namibia earlier this month, won 3-2 by the hosts, both sides have bolstered their squads. Blessing Muzarabani has been added to the Chevrons’ squad, whilst David Wiese joins up with the Eagles.

Their closest challenger is likely to be Uganda. Uganda arrive at the regional final having made the global qualifiers in 2022. Wins over Hong Kong and Jersey were enough for a 5th place finish, but the Cricket Cranes were someway behind the two qualifiers – Zimbabwe and Netherlands. Since then, Uganda have cemented their position as Africa’s 4th best side, winning the ACA Africa T20 Cup and East Africa T20, frequently defeating rivals Kenya and Tanzania. Uganda’s squad features a number of familiar faces, including 43-year-old Frank Nsubuga.

The remaining four teams came through the sub-regional qualifiers, which were played in Rwanda in November and December 2022. Kenya and Rwanda advanced from Qualifier A, with Tanzania and Nigeria advancing from Qualifier B.

All four teams have had mixed records since the sub-regionals. Tanzania have enjoyed the most success, runners-up to Uganda in the ACA Africa Cup, but lost 5 out of 6 games to Uganda in the East Africa Cup in August. Rwanda won only one out of 12 games at the same tournament, against Tanzania. Kenya have enjoyed some success, although defeated by Tanzania and Uganda in the ACA Africa Cup, they won one out of four games in the Continent Cup in June, losing by 1 run to the Ugandans in the final. Nigeria were undefeated in the West Africa Trophy, beating Rwanda in four games, but have not played against any other teams in the tournament in the last year.

The tournament features a single round-robin, totalling 21 games over 9 days between the 22nd and 30th of November. The games are played across the two main venues in Windhoek: United Cricket Club and Wanderers Cricket Club.

The fixtures have been arranged with many of the most important games played in the opening days. Zimbabwe and Namibia play each other on the first day of the competition, Uganda play Namibia on the third day and Zimbabwe play Uganda on the 5th match day. This means a clear picture of who qualifies may appear at or even before the halfway point of the tournament. All matches can be watched on ICC.tv globally, excluding the Indian Subcontinent where the matches are available via Fancode.

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