Bacher seeks Olympic spirit for World Cup

Published: Monday, July 16, 2001, 18:13 [IST]
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Toronto: Ali Bacher wants the next Cricket World Cup to do for South Africa what the Sydney Olympics did for Australia."We want this to be a very special event not only for South Africa but also for Africa and also for international cricket," he said on Sunday."We want this to be an event that every South African can be proud of. I was privileged to go to the recent Olympic Games in Sydney. One feature of that brilliant event was the pride and the good feeling that every Australian had about a part of that world event.

"Our objective in South Africa is to make sure that every South African is party to and supporting this global cricketing event."Bacher, the executive director of the 2003 World Cup was speaking after the conclusion of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Trophy final here Sunday, a tournament for world cricket's leading associate countries.In a thrilling contest, the Netherlands beat Namibia by two wickets, scoring three runs for victory off the last ball. However, both teams had already won the major prize on offer - qualification for the World Cup by reaching the final.

"I congratulate Holland on winning today. It was an outstanding final, came down to the wire and I'm sure Holland will do very well in South Africa," Bacher said.However, it was the performance of Namibia that clearly meant more to former South Africa captain Bacher.As managing director of the United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA), Bacher was instrumental four years ago in introducing Namibia into the Castle Bowl, a competition for emerging players that has also been used to advance the development of black cricketers in South Africa.

"In many ways Africa stole the show in this Trophy tournament. Namibia winning 10 out of 11 matches is an extraordinary achievement, given that they were number 14 in the ladder when they arrived here," said Bacher in an echo of the old Olympic motto about it's not the winning, it's the taking part that counts.However, Bacher said Namibia's success was unlikely to lead to it hosting matches during the World Cup.

"The most important thing for Namibia is that the team does well. From the United Cricket Board side we will do everything possible, tours whatever, coaches, to make sure that their team is able to compete during the World Cup."The World Cup is a unique opportunity to do this and the way to do this is to make sure that the majority of people in Namibia, who are blacks, are able to see cricket on free to air terrestrial television, so that for the first time all Namibians can see cricket on television and not via satellite which is expensive for the majority of people," he said.

"The South African Broadcasting Corporation holds the TV rights and I will do my best to facilitate an arrangement whereby SABC could permit the Namibian matches, opening ceremony, opening match, semi-finals and final to be shown on free to air terrestrial television in Namibia."

AFP Copyright AFP 2001

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