Nairobi, Jan 7 (IANS) The Kenya cricket team left for Christchurch in New Zealand in a buoyant mood, seeking to qualify for the 2015 ICC World Cup.
It will be a hard task for the country, which is undergoing an overhaul of the sport, as they seek their sixth appearance in the World Cup.
During the last World Cup finals in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, Kenya returned home winless.
Player-cum-coach Tom Tikolo was optimistic about Kenya’s chances in the qualifiers as the team emplaned for Christchurch on Monday.
“We are going to meet teams that we have played before. This tournament is important for us to showcase that the sport is picking up in Kenya. We want to make it to the finals and there is only one way to do that, win in the Christchurch World Cup qualifiers,” Tikolo was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
The New Zealand show is the last qualification round for Associate Nations and others who failed to make it through the Intercontinental Cup.
The qualifiers would involve 10 teams divided into two groups of five and the top two finishers, after the Super Six Stage, advance to the World Cup.
Group A consists of the United Arab Emirates, Scotland, Canada, Hong Kong and Nepal, while group B includes the Netherlands, Kenya, Namibia, Papua New Guinea and Uganda.
The two finalists will take the last remaining spots in the World Cup draw. Ireland and Afghanistan have already qualified.
The group stage of the tournament will be held between Jan 13 and 23, followed by the Super Six stage from Jan 26 to Feb 1.
The schedule for the Super Six stage is based on rankings given to teams in the group stages. If the top three teams qualify for the Super Six stage, they retain their group stage ranking irrespective of their position in the points table.
However, if a team that is ranked fourth or fifth in the group stage qualifies for the Super Six, they will assume the ranking of the team they have displaced.
Cricket Kenya (CK) selectors have recalled a number of veteran players to the team, including Steve Tikolo, who came out of retirement to guide Kenya in the unsuccessful Twenty20 World Cup Qualifiers campaign in Dubai last October.
Tikolo replaced Robin Brown, who stood down after the side’s failure to qualify for the 2014 World Twenty20.
Also recalled is Thomas Odoyo, a veteran of four World Cup events. He will also participate in the event as player-cum-coach.
Rakep Patel will assume the captaincy from Collins Obuya. Tikolo has also recalled Lameck Onyango to the team.