New grounds to be built

Friday - - Society - Aay­ache@gulfnews.com @antheaay­ache

Through their an­nual vis­its, the CWB vol­un­teers have en­gaged with peo­ple of all ages, ei­ther as play­ers or coaches, and have left a legacy of 136 coaches who con­tinue their work af­ter the project is com­plete.

Slowly but surely, through joint ef­forts be­tween the CWB and Rwan­dan cricket au­thor­i­ties, par­tic­i­pa­tion among the young is start­ing to soar. The na­tional team now plays in the third di­vi­sion of the In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil Africa and won the Di­vi­sion Three cham­pi­onship in 2011, de­feat­ing the Sey­chelles.

As for cross­ing gen­der bias, last year the U19 girls’ team beat Kenya, the re­gional crick­et­ing pow­er­house.

Many of those who are now slowly be­gin­ning to rep­re­sent their coun­try at a pro­fes­sional sport­ing level have been coached by CWB vol­un­teers, some­thing co-founder Ed Wil­liams says he is very proud of. “One of the things we try to do at CWB is give young peo­ple the op­por­tu­nity to im­prove their lives through cricket. In 2008 we taught some young adults how to play and then how to coach. This was the first time many had ever picked up a bat, in­clud­ing Don [de Dieu Mugisha] who is now one of the lead­ing play­ers in Rwanda and real fu­ture star for cricket in East Africa.” He adds, “I’ll never for­get the mo­ment Don came up to me and said, ‘You were the first per­son to ever hand me a cricket bat’. So sport re­ally can trans­form lives.”

And it looks as though Rwanda’s pro­fes­sional crick­eters may soon be play­ing in­ter­na­tional tour­na­ments at world-class fa­cil­i­ties as The Rwanda Cricket Sta­dium As­so­ci­a­tion has signed a lease fi­nally to move away from the grounds of the Kicukiro Col­lege of Tech­nol­ogy. The hope is for the first phase of con­struc­tion to start next year, and with 2014 be­ing the 20th an­niver­sary of the geno­cide, it’s a poignant move.

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