WALTER Chawaguta the Zimbabwe Under-19 coach believes reaching the latter stages of the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup remains a realistic target despite being drawn against neighbours South Africa and the West Indies on Saturday.
The 16-team ICC Cricket World Cup tournament will be staged across seven venues in the UAE from February 14 to March 1 next year. Zimbabwe’s youth team was drawn in Group C alongside Canada, South Africa and the West Indies. They open their campaign against the Canadians at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on February 14.
The 16 teams have been divided into four groups, with the top two teams progressing to the Super League quarter-finals, while the two bottom teams from each group qualify for the Plate Championship quarter-finals.
Commenting on the draw, Chawaguta said his charges would need a convincing win against Canada and hope for an upset against either the West Indies or South Africa to progress to the Super 8 of the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup.
“Obviously the make-up of our fixtures is such that we will have to convincingly beat Canada in our first match and hope to upset either South Africa or West Indies which is a realistic target”, he said
“However, the players will be under no illusion of what’s expected from them against Canada and the most important thing will be to ensure that they are not complacent.
“Every team at the World Cup is there to compete and we will approach the Canada game the same way we will do the matches against the West Indies or South Africa.”
The former Zimbabwe coach said the team’s immediate focus was on this year’s Cricket South Africa Franchise Cubs Week early next month. Chawaguta said preparations for the tournament were well underway and the final squad would be released later this week.
“At the moment our immediate focus is on the Cubs Week as it will be our last competitive competition before we head for the World Cup. After the Cubs Week we will name our final World Cup squad and go straight into camp for the World Cup,” he said.
The four groups are:
Group A: India, Pakistan, Scotland, Papua New Guinea
Group B: Australia, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Namibia
Group C: South Africa, the West Indies, Zimbabwe, Canada
Group D: New Zealand, England, Sri Lanka, UAE