Cape Town - Blind cricket South Africa (BCSA) has announced that South Africa will participate in the T20 Blind Cricket World Cup in India from January 28 to February 13, 2017.
A team of enthusiastic, visually impaired cricketers has been selected based on performances at the last Blind Cricket World Cup held in Cape Town in 2014, a national tournament in 2015 and playing performance in local leagues.
BCSA is confident that it has put together a winning team.
The team comprises players who are totally blind and partially sighted. Players have been drawn from Central Gauteng(3); Northern Gauteng (4); KZN (1); Free State (2); Western Province (6); and Boland(1).
The team will be managed by Philip Bam, a long time blind cricket administrator.
The coach is Francois Neethling from Pretoria, who is a seasoned blind cricketer, bringing with him a wealth of blind cricket experience and expertise. He will be assisted by Alricht Schwartz of Western Province.
The team will be captained by Sonwabile Bidla from Central Gauteng and the vice-captain is Johan Schroeder from Northern Gauteng, both being experienced blind cricketers.
The team have commenced final preparation with a pre-camp in Cape Town before departure on January 27 to New Delhi, India. Countries participating include hosts India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, England, West Indies, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand.
South Africa will play in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, with the final to be played in Bangalore on February 12.
Participating in this tournament will be a tremendous confidence booster to visually impaired players from disadvantaged backgrounds and BCSA said it is extremely honoured to offer this opportunity to blind and visually impaired athletes who would otherwise not have such an opportunity.
The organisation said it acknowledges the financial support of Cricket South Africa (CSA), without which it would not have been possible to participate.
"The positive impact of this event on the lives of blind people should not be underestimated. Lives are changed. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be chosen to represent one’s country and we have every confidence that Team SA will make South Africa proud. We urge South Africa to get behind this team and to give them both moral and financial support”, said Armand Bam, President of Blind Cricket SA and global development director of the World Blind Cricket Council.