Nairobi, Jan 24 (IANS) Cricket Kenya has quelled any concerns over the security situation in the country and confirmed that the national team’s match against Ireland will go on as planned next month.
Ireland are due to arrive in Nairobi Feb 9 for a series of matches including a four-day Intercontinental Cup clash and two qualifier fixtures in Mombasa for the 2015 Twenty-20 World Cup.
Britain’s Foreign Office has warned of a heightened risk of a terrorist attack from the Somalia-based Al-Shabaab militia – which the Kenya defence forces are fighting – and advised British citizens to “exercise extra vigilance and caution in public places and at public events”.
There are accusations that Al-Shabaab cells operating out of Somalia have crossed the border into Kenya and pose a credible threat to western interests in the Nigerian capital.
Tom Sears, Cricket Kenya (CK) chief executive officer, said there should be no concerns as the situation is being addressed.
“The match is very much on. Of course any security concerns must be addressed and we are working hard to make sure we have control of our security,” Sears told Xinhua here Monday.
“I have been in constant talk with both Cricket Ireland and International Cricket Council (ICC) updating them on the security situation on the ground. I have no doubt the match will go on as planned.”
A post on Cricket Ireland website confirmed that their chief executive Warren Deutrom has already been in touch with the ICC and CK over the issue.
Sears advised that Kenyan cricket was taking Britain’s Foreign Office advice very seriously not because of the foreigners coming in but even for the all-important security of Kenyan players and fans who will be attending the match.
“The security arrangements for both sides are of paramount importance,” he said.
“We are reviewing the security plans and are liaising with Cricket Ireland and the ICC.”
Under ICC regulations, Kenya are obliged to submit a security plan for every tour to the ICC Anti-Corruption and Security Unit and Ireland are likely to insist upon tighter security protection.
“We toured Zimbabwe in 2010 after much consideration and had a security officer with us on that occasion,” Deutrom said. “That is an option we might consider again.”
Sears said the Kenya team is busy training after returning from a successful build up trip to India, where it played several provisional sides.
“They had a very good trip and I am hopeful we will be able to make it through these qualifiers. The team will be training in Nairobi before heading to Mombasa a week before the tournament starts,” said Sears.