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Erasmus, Wittmann win top cricket awards

Gerhard Erasmus and Sune Wittmann won Namibia’s top awards at Cricket Namibia’s annual prizegiving ceremony on Saturday night.

On a glittering night, with recipients dressed up to the nines, numerous awards were won, while Erasmus and Wittmann walked away with the men and women’s player of the year awards.

For Erasmus it was the culmination of a great season during which he won the ICC Associate Cricketer of the Year award, after scoring close to 1 000 One Day International runs at an average of 56,23, while he also took 12 wickets at an average of 27,66. Besides that he excelled as a captain and fielder, leading Namibia to a 62 percent win ratio in the ICC Cricket World Cup League 2, while he was also a popular winner of the Namibian Eagles’ Players’ Player of the Year award.

Erasmus was not present at the awards since he is currently playing international franchise T20 cricket in Canada, but his family was well-represented, with his newly-wedded wife Anna-Mart receiving his awards, while his father and Cricket Namibia patron Francois Erasmus and mother, Rista, were also present.

Erasmus senior said it was just reward after years of hard work. 

“I’m a proud dad tonight. Gerhard’s been working hard for 12 years in the national setup and I think he’s now reaping the rewards, and it’s a testament to his absolute love for the game – he just lives for it, he breathes cricket, so yes, I think it’s just reward for him,” he said. 

“Gerhard couldn’t be here tonight because he’s playing in Canada in the GT20 franchise tournament together with four other Namibians, so it’s a fantastic opportunity for them to get exposed to these tournaments, to earn a bit of extra income, but also to play with some world-class players,” he added.

Some of Namibia’s women’s cricketers who attended the awards ceremony. Photo: Helge Schütz

Wittmann, meanwhile, won the Capricorn Eagles Player of the Year award after winning both the batting and bowling awards. She was Namibia’s top batter with 273 runs in 14 innings’ at a strikerate of 118, while she topped the bowling averages with19 wickets in 15 matches at an average of 10,73. 

Budding batter Arrasta Diergaardt, meanwhile, walked away with the Capricorn Eagles’ Most Improved Player of the Year award, as well as the Players’ Player of the Year award.

Other national players who were honoured were Tangeni Lungameni, who won the Most Improved National Eagles Player award; Bernard Scholtz, who won the Eagles T20 Player of the Year award; and Jan Frylinck, who won the Eagles T20 World Cup Player of the Tournament award.

National Richelieu Eagles coach Pierre de Bruyn won the Coach of the Year award, after leading Namibia to their most successful spell in history. This included a first-ever win against a leading test-nation in Sri Lanka at the T20 World Cup, while the team also won the ICC Men’s Performance of the Year award for three years in a row. 

Several other recognition awards were granted, with Cricket Namibia vice president Polly Negongo winning a special recognition award; international umpire Jeff Luck winning a lifetime honouree member award; Wynand Louw winning a long-time service to cricket award; and Jona Ambuga winning a long-term employee service to cricket award.

Besides that numerous teams and players were honoured for their achievements after a domestic season during which Wanderers returned to the Premier League summit after beating former champions Windhoek High School Old Boys in both the 50-over and T20 competitions. 

The president of Cricket Namibia, Dr Rudie van Vuuren said they were very excited about the future of the sport in Namibia.

“We are very excited about the high performance program and the development program of Cricket Namibia – we are seeing a stream of talent coming through, displaying skill levels that I have never seen on Namibian soil before and this goes for both boys and girls. These programs will find the athletes in our country and make world class cricketers of them – we want to see Namibian children embrace cricket as a career option and inspiring children from Oranjemund to Katima Mulilo to play cricket,” he said. 

With Namibia due to co-host the Cricket World Cup in 2027, Van Vuuren shared his long-term vision with the audience. 

“We have developed vision 2027 for the Cricket World Cup that we will be co-hosting with South Africa and Zimbabwe. They say a vision is a picture of the future that creates passion in people and if I close my eyes I see one of the most beautiful truly Namibian cricket stadiums with people having a braai watching Namibia busy beating South Africa with camelthorn trees in the foreground and the sun setting over the Auas mountains in the background.”