Namibia squad at the T20 World Cup Qualifiers. © ICC

Cricket Namibia CEO Johan Muller has admitted not giving sufficient attention to women’s cricket in the past. However, he added that things have changed with the appointment of a new coach and the budget aligned in the game to provide the women cricketers better opportunities.

“For the first time, it’s great to announce that our national TV will have a girl’s league. We incorporated it into a six-a-side competition. The number the girls are smaller so it is easier to make up the team. It’s a girl-only competition,” Muller was quoted as saying in a programme with NBC Sports.

He also added that in order to have a successful transformation programme, it all has to start with sufficient exposure and knowledge to the game. “One of the stumbling blocks was exposure. We have picked up, especially on the roadshow last year that a lot of people in the smaller towns have not seen cricket. When the child that we coach in the Kwata program comes home the parents don’t know what cricket is so they don’t motivate the children to go back. So for me transformation and development start with knowledge,” he stated.

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Meanwhile, young cricketer Phia Gerber serves as proof of what girls’ development programme can produce. “I think we are very good development coming up. The cricket union is very eager to develop men’s cricket and women’s cricket. So to come up from the junior ranks is always great because I can inspire other girls like I was inspired,” Gerber said.

Currently, there are about 120 senior women playing the game with roughly 13000 girls introduced to cricket with Cricket Namibia’s roadshow last year. “After that roadshow, we have got a lot of female players interested in the game to start coaching. So currently we have three female quarter coaches who are holders of international level 1 courses. So it’s not just about developing players but also coaches and administrators,” Muller said.