Rudie van Vuuren: Namibia co-hosting 2027 Cricket World Cup 'the biggest thing that will ever happen'

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Rudie van Vuuren playing both cricketRudie van Vuuren played at both the cricket and rugby World Cups in 2003

Namibian sporting icon Rudie van Vuuren believes his nation co-hosting the 2027 Cricket World Cup is 'one of the biggest things that will ever happen to us'.

Van Vuuren, who played at both the cricket and rugby union World Cups in 2003, has been president of Cricket Namibia since 2018.

He says Namibia's performances on the pitch in recent years played a big part in the country being awarded the hosting rights for the 2027 Cricket World Cup, along with neighbours South Africa and Zimbabwe.

"It's massive and just for us as a nation. I think it's one of the biggest things that will ever happen to us," the 49-year-old told BBC Sport Africa.

"In 2003 when I played in the World Cup it was hosted between South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya but our performances on the field sort of shifted the mind towards Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

"For our economy it's going to be a massive injection, for our cricket it's going to be a massive injection."

However, Van Vuuren admits that the biggest challenge that lies ahead is ensuring Namibia has the necessary cricket infrastructure in place.

At present there are only five cricket pitches in the country and only limited training facilities.

"That's a big challenge for us at the moment. We are struggling to get the authorities on board," he explained.

"There is land designated for development of an international facility. We have saved up money for it, so the news that we will be hosting the World Cup will hopefully shift the minds of powers that be in the right direction.

"We need an international standard stadium and facilities. It's a massive economic opportunity for us so hopefully the news will get through to them.

"The facilities are not bad but at the moment we are going to struggle to host the Cricket World Cup because of the absence of one big facility. By 2027 we really need to have a big stadium in place."

Van Vuuren is expecting that any stadium used for the 2027 World Cup will be in the Namibian capital Windhoek.

Catalyst for diversity

Rudie van VuurenAs well as playing sport Rudie van Vuuren is a qualified medical doctor and a conservationist

Van Vuuren is hoping that both the co-hosting of the 2027 finals and Namibia's recent successes at the T20 World Cup, where they reached the Super 12s stage for the first time, will be a catalyst for Namibian cricket to become more diverse.

"One of the biggest challenges we are facing in Namibia is cricket is still seen as a white man's sport and that's a perception we want to change," he explained.

"We have some fantastic non-white players coming through and now development programs are escalating every day. So, that tournament will just help develop cricket and find those amazing athletes that we have in rural areas of Namibia."

Diversity and infrastructure are not the only things the sportsman, who is also a fully-qualified medical doctor and conservationist, is hoping to improve over the next few years.

"From team level to board level we need to recalibrate and re-strategise because success brings new challenges," he said.

"For us as the board - as the leadership of Cricket Namibia - we need to know how do we increase the pool of players, how do we strengthen our pipeline, how do we scout for talent in this very remote country?"

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