Sierra Leone’s national U-19 cricket team will have to face Botswana, Tanzania, Zambia, Nigeria, Ghana, and Rwanda in a bid to reach the next round of the ICC-Africa U19 Cricket World Cup Qualification.

The seven nations will battle it out from 10th to 18th September in Johannesburg, South Africa, a tournament that has been described as winner-takes-all.

According to Chief Executive Officer of the Sierra Leone Cricket Association (SLCA), Francis Trevor Samura, only the winner of the tournament will progress to the first division, which includes Namibia, Uganda and Kenya.

Samura said that despite the rains, the team is currently undergoing intensive training at the Prince Of Wales School ovals and that the SLCA selection panel has already shortlisted and registered 18 players in their provisional squad with the tournament organisers, ICC-Africa.

“The team would have gone to South Africa for a week’s long elite training and play some friendly matches against the Eastern Cricket Academy boys, but the SLCA can’t afford the bill of US$6,000 as we did for the senior national team, the Patriots,” Samura said.

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He also revealed that experienced national players who had gone through elite cricket coaching from international coaches like Peter Kastein, Kenneth Massinga, and Mark Aspin would be hired to assist head coach George Kpundeh train the boys, especially on fielding, fitness and match tactics and techniques as the competition draws closer.

The 18-man provisional squad includes: Edward George Ngegba, Yegbeh Jalloh, Aruna Kainessie, Martin Bockarie, James Franklyn Bangura, Sahr Gbla, Edward G. Senessie, Alhaji Foday Mansaray, Charles Kargbo, Ibrahim Bundu, Haroun Kamara, Ibrahim Sorie Kamara, Charles Browne, John Bangura, Chernor Bah, Emmanuel Ngaujah, Eric Musa Turay and Osman Thomas Sankoh.