Vaughan v Gibbs in Rwanda opener
FORMER England captain Michael Vaughan will open Rwanda’s first international cricket stadium this weekend.
It comes after a groundbreaking partnership between British charity Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation (RCSF), the Rwanda Cricket Association and the Government of Rwanda.
The stadium, located in Gahanga, Kigali, will officially open on Saturday with a celebratory match between two teams, one captained by Vaughan and the other by South African Herschelle Gibbs.
Kent’s Sam Billings will also be there as well as former Kenya star Steve Tikolo. A tournament with eight teams from Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda and the UK has been running throughout the week in Kigali and will conclude on Sunday at the new ground. Over 1,500 spectators from Rwanda and the international community are expected to attend.
RCSF was set up in memory of Christopher Shale, a British man who fell in love with Rwanda after travelling to Kigali ten years ago. Shale dreamt of building a proper ground for Rwandan cricketers but died in 2011, before he was able to carry out his plan. Shale’s son Alby, 27, became the project director two years ago and has been living in Kigali, determined to fulfil his father’s vision.
Alby Shale, RCSF project director, said: “I am delighted that the stadium has now been finished and Rwanda has a proper Home of Cricket in Kigali – the Lord’s of East Africa.
“We hope that the new ground will support the development of the game in Rwanda, from the elite level to the grassroots.We want as many Rwandans as possible to have the opportunity to play this wonderful sport.”
The iconic stadium has been designed by worldleading architects, Light Earth Designs. It includes a pavilion consisting of three vaults made from 66,000 handmade tiles using only locally sourced materials. A combination of 2,400 kilograms of Gypsum and 475 tons of reinforced steel has also been used.