Border bring in heavy weaponry

Side aims to be a force in Africa Cup T20 leg to be played at Buffalo Park

Basheer Walters of the Warriors will do duty for Border in the Africa Cup T20 in September in East London.
Basheer Walters of the Warriors will do duty for Border in the Africa Cup T20 in September in East London.
Image: Michael Sheehan/ Gallo Images

Border have named a strong 13-man squad for next month’s exciting season opening Africa Cup T20 leg, taking place at Buffalo Park.

Border will be hosting pool C of the tournament, featuring rivals Eastern Province, newcomers Mpumalanga and international sides Kenya and Namibia, with the five teams battling it out for one qualifying spot.

Five Warriors contracted players have been picked, including experienced fast bowler Basheer Walters and wicketkeeper/batsman Gihahn Cloete who will be making their Border debuts after making themselves available for the side this season when not on Warriors duty.

“I am very happy with our squad, I think the group of Warriors players that are available for us actually add a lot of value because these are guys who have played in finals already and they have experienced those critical moments and that will add a lot of value to our team, especially for the younger players,” explained Border coach Frank Plaatjes.

“We have named quite a few youngsters in the team, players like Jason Niemand, Mncedisi Malika and Bamanye Xenxe will have a chance to play alongside guys like Christiaan Jonker, Gihahn Cloete and Basheer Walters which will be great for their development.”

After the loss in the off-season of a number of players, including captain Gionne Koopman, Border had to find a new captain and have recalled Jerry Nqolo to the position he held for a short time.

Nqolo was originally selected as the long-term replacement for long-serving captain Abongile Sodumo, but he had just broken into the Warriors set-up and thus was unavailable most of the time, which saw Martin Walters and then Koopman take over captaincy, with it now returning to Nqolo for a second stint.

“We have named Jerry as captain and he will take the reins for the coming season,” said Plaatjes. “Jerry is always a positive character, all the players respect him and he will add a lot of value as captain.”

In this year’s event, Border will be hoping for good weather after the previous two years editions, in which Border hosted legs, were heavily affected by rain with just two matches possible in 2016 and three matches last year. Border will also be hungry to make it into the finals weekend for the first time and they will hope their well balanced team of experience and exciting youth will pay off in the end.

“First thing we praying for is that the rain gods stay away, especially after the last two legs we hosted were affected by rain,” claimed Plaatjes. “But we are looking to qualify for the finals weekend and hopefully we could host it as well.

“The nice thing about this competition is for our players it is the only T20 they play throughout the season, so hopefully we can get in a full weekend of cricket and the guys can enjoy themselves.

“Everyone is in great physical shape, the big challenge is now to be match ready, so that is what we are working on and hopefully we can get a number of training games in over the coming weeks so we will be fully prepared.”

The Africa Cup takes centre stage over the weekend of September 14-16.

Border squad: Jerry Nqolo, Mncedisi Malika, Basheer Walters, Bongolwethu Makeleni, Gihahn Cloete, Christiaan Jonker, Clayton Bosch, Yaseen Vallie, Aya Gqamane, Marco Marais, Phaphama Fojela, Jason Niemand, Bamanye Xenxe.