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CARIBBEAN - Ali Backer: Bajans in top shape for CWC 2007.

Thursday 08, April-2004

by PHILIP SPOONER


The man who successfully organised and ran the biggest and best cricket event ever, has thrown his full support behind Barbados as the Caribbean prepares to host the International Cricket Council’s World Cup 2007 (CWC 2007).

Dr Ali Bacher, the supremo behind the 2003 World Cup in South Africa, told WEEKEND NATION he was bowled over by the level of enthusiasm shown by volunteers and other officials during a meeting at Sherbourne Conference Centre on Tuesday evening.

He also added that with its rich cricket heritage and wonderful cricket culture, there was no doubt in his mind this island should host some of the major matches.

“We are three years away and already these people are ready to go!” Bacher said. “I had a two-hour meeting with Stephen Alleyne [chief executive officer of World Cup Barbados] and others where we went through some of the problems we faced at the South African World Cup.

“There were about 100 people there and their enthusiasm was unbelievable. Most of them were volunteers and they were so hyped up. These are people who have put up their hands and decided to do something for their country.

“Once this level is maintained Barbados should have a great World Cup, no doubt.”

Bacher also said Barbados’ cricket legacy and infrastructure were major advantages.

“This island has huge potential,” said Bacher, himself a former South Africa batsman. “Your tourism product is in the top league with magnificent hotels, great restaurants and a sound infrastructure.

“The island has also produced some of the world’s greatest players. When you walk around you bump into one every half-hour, no joke, this must count for something. The people here love and understand their cricket and the island just has a great cricket product.

“The potential is enormous and it’s a great place for World Cup cricket.”

World Cup Barbados, with the slogan: Making It Happen, was officially launched in February and since then its officials have been working overtime to prepare the Bid Books to send to the CWC 2007 in early May.

There are 12 territories bidding to be among theeight venues selected to host matches. The final decision on who gets what will be done in early July. Government has decided to invest $60 million and Barbados is hoping to first host the preliminary zone of either England or India.

As witnessed during the recent Test match, the presence of the British Barmy Army fans can bring huge financial benefits, while the emergence of India’s Swarm Army, could have the same effect.

Compliments of the Nation News



 

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