Border cricket coach Frank Plaatjes will be aiming to use the Africa Cup T20 competition as a springboard to launch Border to a successful season on all fronts.
With the action getting under way this weekend with the fourth leg of the competition, and only the top team progressing to the finals weekend, Plaatjes will be hoping his charges have what it takes to mount a successful challenge and get their season off to the perfect start.
“We want to use the Africa Cup competition as a springboard to get us off to the best possible start for the rest of the season,” admitted Plaatjes. “We are playing at home, we know the conditions and we have a very good team, so we have a lot going for us and I am confident we can progress.
“A good start in the Africa Cup will set us up well and give us some great momentum to take into the rest of the season.”
Last season was a struggle for the Border team, with them finishing in the bottom half of the table in all formats that they took part in.
“We want to have a massive improvement on our performance from last season,” said Plaatjes.
“I believe we can challenge in all formats and we just have to make sure that we perform well from the start.”
Although only 13 players could be picked for the Border Africa Cup squad, they have a good extended squad who will all be an important part of the side as they make their assault on two fronts over the season.
Especially with the team having lost three stalwarts in the past season with fast bowler Thandolwethu Mnyaka moving to Northern Cape and Martin Walters and Darryl Brown retiring.
“If you look at the composition of the team we have a few players who are missing out and will come back into the mix, especially when we lose our Warriors players at various points in the season,” said Plaatjes.
“Some of those players are Mkhululi Calana, Sinovuyo Ntuntwana and Sesona Ndwandwa who were unlucky to have missed out and come the start of the rest of the season they will be ready and back in the mix.
“We also have a lot of very talented youngsters coming in to the team which is exciting, we have a number of impressive youngsters coming through the system, like Akhona Mnyaka, while another one who I think will play an integral part of our squad is Jason Niemand.
“Jason is an exciting batsman and unfortunately missed out on the Africa Cup selection, but will definitely make his mark for us over the coming season.”
The team’s full focus for now however will be on the coming weekends Africa Cup and the players will need to be up for the challenge.
“We will taking the Africa Cup game by game. Obviously we want to make the finals weekend, but our focus for now is fully on Boland on Friday night and then we will look at the next one after that,” said Plaatjes.
Border play Boland on Friday, Zimbabwe on Saturday and KwaZulu-Natal Inland on Sunday in Africa Cup pool stage campaign.