THE Indian youth cricket team are expected to add an international flavour to “The President’s Under-14 Afro-Asia Cricket Cup’’ to be hosted by the Heath Streak International Academy next month.
The tournament is in honour of their patron, President Mnangagwa.
The tournament, which is dubbed “Zimbabwe’s youth IPL”, will take place between August 4 and August 8 in Harare.
The chief executive and partner of the Heath Streak International Cricket Trust, Joseph Rego, yesterday said all was set for the prestigious tournament.
Teams from South Africa, Namibia, Tanzania and Zambia are also set to attend. The tournament will roar into life at the Sunrise Sports Club in Ridgeview and then shift to the Old Hararians for the finals.
Rego said the popularity of this brand was growing immensely and the President’s Afro-Asia Cricket Cup was destined to turn into an Under-14 Cricket World Cup in future.
The initiative is the brainchild of former Zimbabwe captain and coach Heath Streak.
The event organisers recently met President Mnangagwa who gave the tournament his blessings.
“I am delighted to have His Excellency associated with the Afro Asia Cricket Cup,’’ said Rego.
‘‘This youth brand is going to grow rapidly with the President’s support and become an iconic brand in Southern Africa. This tournament, featuring local and Asian players, will unearth new and future talent to grace both International teams and T20 Tournaments around the world.
“Zimbabwe has a wealth of talent, for a small country, and we punch way above our weight. I look forward to the stars of future being showcased.
“The Under-14 T20 tournament, the Old Mutual Heath Streak Africa Cricket Cup held in Bulawayo once every two years, would continue as a biennial cricket tournament featuring various African nations.’’ Zimbabwe defeated South Africa in a nailbiting final in 2015 and in 2017 won the final after defeating Botswana.
Rego said talented local cricketers will receive the “Emmerson Mnangagwa Cricket Scholarships” after the final.
Rego also announced that Heath Streak International plans to construct the ‘Emmerson Mnangagwa International Sports City’ in Harare which would be a home to various sporting disciplines with emphasis on cricket.
“The Sports Ministry and City Council are in the process of identifying the land and work will commence as soon as we obtain the land. The Emmerson Mnangagwa International Sports City will be the pride of Zimbabwe and home to the sports-loving youth of our nation, offering youngsters the opportunity to display their specific sporting talent, reach their full potential and represent the country one day at international level with pride.
“The first phase of development is to construct an international cricket facility for budding and talented cricketers and providing cricket-playing schools in Zimbabwe the opportunity to play their favourite sport in an atmosphere unparalleled to any other cricket facility in the country.
“Streak and I, during our recent visit to India for the Indian Premier League, approached investors from Asia. Support from Zimbabwean conglomerates and financial institutions has been overwhelming,” said Rego.