Malawi cricket national team should brace for tough times after being drawn in the same group as Uganda, Nigeria and Ghana at the Africa Cricket Association T20 African Cup finals in Nairobi, Kenya.
The continental competition is scheduled for March 20-28 with eight teams set to fight for honours.
Other teams at the week-long event are hosts Kenya, Botswana, Cameroon and Mozambique. The four have been drawn in Group B while Malawi will compete in Group A.
Malawi will open the competition with a tie against Uganda on March 22 before taking on Ghana the following day. Their last group match will be against Nigeria on March 25.
Malawi Cricket Union President, Vivek Ganeshan, said they expect a tough tournament as their opponents are experienced.
“Uganda, Nigeria and Ghana have been playing at top level for many years and are ranked above us. This will indeed be a tough competition for us but we will prepare well. We expect to start preparations next month or early March,” Ganeshan said.
But he said their hope lies in the team’s improvement in recent matches after missing out on international competitions for many years.
“We are looking at selecting 14 players for the tournament. We expect to have a big headache in this exercise because there are several good players. We will use this competition to prepare for World Cup qualifiers in May,” Ganeshan said.
Malawi are 55th on the global rankings while Ghana are the top-ranked team in the group on position 34. Uganda and Nigeria are ranked 35th and 40th, respectively.
The Malawians rose 10 places on the rankings after thrashing Mozambique 5-1 in a seven-match series played late last year.
The tournament’s semi-finals are scheduled for March 26 while the final will be played 24 hours later.