WC 2003 - Kenya hopes prize money will help future of game at home

Published: Thursday, March 13, 2003, 4:11 [IST]
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Bloemfontein: Kenya was not only celebrating its historic place in the semi-finals of the World Cup on Wednesday, it was also hoping that the $ 500,000 it has earned from its adventure will go a long way in securing the future of cricket at home.The seven-wicket win over Zimbabwe at Goodyear Park guaranteed it $ 400,000 for making it to the last four on top of $ 100,000 earned in the Super Sixes.Some senior players said that the money could not have come at a better time with the domestic game facing enormous problems at home.There has been growing concern that Kenyan youngsters are not being encouraged to take up the sport, and with most of the current World Cup squad over 30, there were worries that the country will not be able to mount another serious challenge at the next tournament in the West Indies in 2007."I don't see us playing in the next World Cup," one of the senior players in the team said. There is no serious competition in the country and the youth are not motivated to play cricket," said the player, who asked not to be named. Awarded One-day International status in 1997, Kenya applied for Test status last year, and the request will be considered at the next International Cricket Council (ICC) meeting in London in June. The Kenya Cricket Association (KCA) is quick to point out that the country's success in the World Cup in South Africa is not the only reason why Kenya should be accorded the highest status. "Our success in the tournament has come through our own initiative," said KCA chairman Sharad Ghai. "Now it is time for the ICC and the Test-playing nations to give us the much-needed exposure we need to improve our game." Ghai, who was also the chairman of the Kenyan World Cup organising committee, said the KCA would hold a seminar in April to chart out the future of the sport in the country. Of immediate concern is the resumption of the national league which was discontinued last year following a row between the KCA and the Nairobi Provincial Cricket Association over the management of clubs. A new league set-up would entail the establishment of a longer version of the game, which is a major requirement for the ICC to grant a country Test status. Copyright AFP 2001

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