TELFORD VICE, Cape Town
THE good news to emerge from the launch of next season’s Africa T20 Cup at Newlands on Wednesday was that the tournament would again be broadcast live on television – but not in India.
That should keep the event out of the clutches of the underground matchfixing industry, which tainted the integrity of SA’s franchise T20 competition last season.
Almost all of the players who will feature in the Africa Cup are not part of the more lucrative professional structures and could be seen as ripe for the fixers’ picking.
As they were last season, some of the games will be broadcast live in SA and other African countries. But if live coverage is not easily available to Indian bookmakers and punters – matchfixing’s biggest and most organised market – they remain relatively safe from corruption.
Just in case, Cricket SA made a point of saying yesterday that their “anti-corruption regulations for the players and match officials area will be in place at all venues”.
However, all talk of matchfixing was put aside as some of the lesser lights of the game in SA and beyond welcomed another opportunity for exposure and to make some money.
“We believe we can build on what we started last year,” Cricket SA’s general manager, Corrie van Zyl, said. “The CEOs will an opportunity to generate revenue, purely because it’s on TV.”
Four pools of four teams each were drawn. For five weekends starting from September 2, each pool will play their round-robin games in one centre. The finals are scheduled for September 30 to October 1 at an as yet undecided venue.
All the SA teams’ squads will include at least two franchise players but no more than four will play in any match. The squads will feature two under-21 players who are uncapped at franchise level.
Pool A comprises KZN Inland, Namibia, WP and North West and will be based in Pietermaritzburg.
Oudtshoorn will host Pool B, which will feature SWD, defending champions Northerns, Northern Cape and Kenya.
Border, Easterns, Free State and Zimbabwe line up in Pool C, which will be contested in East London.
In Pool D, Boland, KZN, EP and Gauteng will do battle in Paarl.
“Just to set your mind at ease there won’t be any ostriches running around,” Boland stalwart Gershwin Rabie said.
Neither will any pink balls be flying around. They were used in last season’s competition but replaced by the white ball for the finals following complaints from the players over visibility.
The winning team will earn R300 000.