ICC Trophy: West African officials unhappy with the confusion in Canada

Tony Munro – 13 July 2001 reports

West African Cricket Conference officials (WACC) hope to learn today whether the International Cricket Conference will grant them a replacement tour for their thwarted participation in the current ICC Trophy. WACC officials have campaigned to the ICC for a tour following alleged bungling by the Canadian High Commission in Accra, Ghana which saw all 17 players and officials refused visas to enter Canada.

Kalada Dick Iruenabere, Chairman of the WACC, yesterday told ‘Beyond The Test World’ it had asked the ICC to arrange games against Associate member opposition.The substitute matches are just one component of a package of measures the WACC is seeking to compensate for missing out on competing in the qualifying tournament for the 2003 World Cup.

Among these are:

Reimbursement of funds used in preparations of the 14 man squad brought together from Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Gambia for the ICC TrophyAn assurance that West Africa’s ICC ranking will not be affected. “We are now ranked 24th but not through any fault of ours,” Dr. Iruenabere said.An apology from the Canadian Government

A refund of West Africa’s contribution towards the running of the ICC Trophy

West African officials finally gave up their quest to get the team on the field in Toronto when it learned the best case scenario was the team would arrive on the day of the last match scheduled for Friday, July 6. It asked the ICC to arrange substitute matches. When the ICC was unable to due to scheduling problems, WACC officials opted to leave the team at home.

According to Dr. Iruenabere the saga began when WACC tried to enter the Canadian High Commission in Accra on June 18 to obtain the necessary visas for the players and officials.

“They wouldn’t let us in the front gate of the High Commission until Monday, June 25 and that is when we collected our visas. Then we had to find replacement flights.” The tournament started on Thursday, June 28th.

Iruenabere said he was lead to believe one of the reasons for the reluctance for the High Commission to grant visas was the unique nature of the West African Cricket Conference, which is a grouping of four countries, rather than an individual national team.“They didn’t believe us because hadn’t heard of a combined West African team competing in international tournaments, and they hadn’t heard of the tournament either. As well, they thought the Sierra Leone players might not want to return to their country due to the political situation there.

© 2001 CricInfo Ltd

ICC Trophy 2001 in Canada