November 25, 2007

Rwanda

Cricket in Rwanda

ESPNcricinfo staff

Rwanda's cricket is coming along leaps and bounds, which is unusual for a country which not so long ago was a French colony where no English was spoken. But now, reports Scotland's Sunday Herald, the national championship has five clubs, while women's and junior teams are set to head to Nairobi for the East African championships.

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Posted by Brian Luedke on (December 12, 2007, 19:50 GMT)

Rwanda was a Belgian colony, not a French one.

Posted by Arjun Chaudhuri on (December 3, 2007, 8:39 GMT)

To my knowledge, cricket is quite popular in Kenya at the least, though still not there in the same league as athletics and football. And a heartening thing about Kenyan cricket is that majority of national team players are of Kenyan origin. And they are good at that. Kenyan allrounder, Thomas Odoyo was named as ICC Associate Player of the Year in 2007. Former openers Dipak Chudasama and Kennedy Otieno shared the world record for the highest opening stand in ODIs before Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly surpassed them. Both Odoyo and Otieno are Kenyan locals, and though Chudasama is of Indian origin, Kenya is his country of birth, as is the case with Hitesh Modi and Ravindu Shah.

Good news for and Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda to unite into an East African Federation. Though I’m not sure as to how much this will them in emerging as a sporting superpower, as none of the countries, I think, is good enough, by international standards, in any internationally participated team game.

Posted by Ash on (December 1, 2007, 10:05 GMT)

England and Wales not Scotland.. play cricket as one 'country' - ecb = england 'and wales' cricket board! how popular is cricket in Rwanda? Uganda? Kenya or Tanzania? as far as I'm aware... its really an Asian thing.. and for expats from SA etc...

look at the NPCA ... exempt from one or two native players.. the other playing XI are all Asian!!! so stop that rubbish mention! what they should do now is, when teams like Bermuda and other associates come along... ck should bring THOUSANDS of slum school children 2 watch the matches, so that there is a crowd and the kids will learn cricket, and at the end.. donate lots of kwik cricket sets... then maybe see a cricket resurgence....

Posted by Chris S on (December 1, 2007, 6:43 GMT)

Barney, it's Chris S, not Chris R. And it isn't twaddle. If you bothered to read what I wrote, you will see that I covered all that you said and all you have done is restate the glaringly obvious - I said in MOST sports England and Scotland are separate. And despite what you may think or wish England, Scotland and Wales aren't distinct enough to warrant separate citizenships (which is why in football and rubgy they have to use ancestry and which is why in cricket people have to reside in Scotland for a certain time before being eligible to play cricket for Scotland). There is no English citizenship separate from Scottish citizenship so when the England football team and Scotland football team face off it is really two teams full of British citizens, just as how when the Miss World pageant is held there will always be at least two contestants with American citizenship (USA and Puerto Rico). I expected that at some point someone would come along and make all huff and puff over "England and Scotland being separate and whatnot" with some kind of air of authority in the matter and as I expected they didn't actually read what I wrote. I know they are separate in sports and I know they have been so for a long time in football and rugby (since the beginning of organized international competition in those two sports during the late 1800s and early 1900s) and only more recently in cricket (only since the late 1990s), but you've missed my point entirely which was that international representation is never uniform whether it be in political organizations, economic organizations, social and linguistic organizations, international beauty competitions or in sports organizations.

Posted by Barney on (December 1, 2007, 4:52 GMT)

Chris R - What twaddle. In all major sports England and Scotland are separate - football, rugby etc - and I doubt that any Scot or Englishman would ever want to be considered as one for sport. It may be a political union but to people England, Scotland and Wales are very distinct countries.

Posted by Chris S on (November 30, 2007, 20:48 GMT)

Ummm...I don't think you quite understood me. Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi are members of the East African Community (EAC) and they all plan to federate into one country by 2010. So if all goes to plan for the EAC, there won't be an independent Kenya or an independent Tanzania in 2010, there will only be the country of East Africa with Kenya and Tanzania just being parts of East Africa just as much as Yorkshire is a part of England or Orissa is a part of India.

As for conglomerations of countries for sports...sports is actually different from other international representations. Think about it, apart from Sports where else is Scotland represented separately from England? Almost nowhere at all (except in beauty pageants). In almost every arena, except sports, they are both represented as the United Kingdom (or "Great Britain"). And even in various international organizations, representation is not clearly on a strict national basis.

Besides, in sports England and Scotland are almost always represented separately, which is almost as "unfair" as having conglomerates to begin with, because it means one country has two teams (despite what English and Scottish sports fans may say, their country of citizenship is the UK not England or Scotland). So in my personal opinion if certain countries wish to group together for sporting purposes, they should be allowed to but sporting conglomerations should never be forced on any set of countries.

Sporting conglomerations could be useful for development purposes, but some (such as Ireland in some sports and a parallel Pacific Islands team in rugby alongside the Samoan, Tongan and Fijian teams) are actually due to a shared sense of identity. Identities can be complex (as shown by the case of the UK) and since they usually are (identities can be based on language, history, religion, gender, status and so forth), then its only practical that international representation actually reflects this.

Posted by Arjun Chaudhuri on (November 29, 2007, 12:43 GMT)

I don’t really like the idea of conglomeration of independent nations in international sporting events. If this is not the case in other international representations, then why should sports be any different? Such a practice may be supported in the formative period of a game in a region across international boundaries. But with substantial development of the game over time, the international body governing the game should discourage such a practice. Sensible political sense will certainly not interpret individual participations of neighbouring nations in continent or world level sporting events as breeding grounds of international animosity. There can still always be an Australia XI versus Rest of the World XI and Asia XI versus Africa XI cricket series with a first-class international status.

Cricket, in itself, is far from being a global game as football is. So, independent countries can group together on a geographical basis for expansion and development of the game. The breakaway erstwhile Soviet Union states participated in Olympics 1992 under the Commonwealth of Independent States. Though these nations were independent by then, their participation under the common umbrella was permissible, as they had achieved their political sovereignty only recently, and had little scope of independent preparation for the premier world sports event. Next edition of the event on they have participated separately, and creditably at that in a number of instances.

Posted by Chris S on (November 28, 2007, 19:30 GMT)

Arjun, I've noticed that one thing about the world of sports is that it tends to keep itself separate from happenings in the world of non-sports, even though events in the non-sports world can affect sports. For instance I have yet to see any discussion, let alone mention of how the proposed East African Federation (which is supposed to to be formed around 2010) will affect cricket (or even football considering that the next FIFA World Cup is in 2010). This East African Federation is supposed to be the end result of the (second) East African Community which now includes Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda (the original 3 members) and Rwanda and Burundi (joined in 2007).

So if Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi do form this East African Federation, then the new country of East Africa would be automatically eligible for Commonwealth membership - so even if Rwanda's bid for Commonwealth membership is rejected now they would still end up in the Commonwealth as part of East Africa and be eligible for separate membership thereafter if the East African Federation fell apart.

In addition, if those 5 countries do form an East African Federation, what would happen to the separate cricketing bodies (and other sporting bodies)? I would imagine that the cricket governing bodies (and football governing bodies) in all 5 East African countries would be amalgamated, if not at the start of Federation in 2010 then shortly thereafter. If Kenya qualify for the 2011 Cricket World Cup then depending on what happens we might either see Kenya playing in 2011 but not as a independent country (similar to England and Scotland I guess) or we could see a second East African team in 2011 or 2015 (if they qualify) with Kenyans, Ugandans, Tanzanians and Rwandans (I don't know of any cricket in Burundi to speak of).

Posted by Arjun Chaudhuri on (November 27, 2007, 10:17 GMT)

Rwanda should take a leaf out of the book of fellow east African nation, Kenya. Kenya, of course, being a former British colony, always had the added opportunity to develop a cricket culture. Its strategic location on the east African coastline, also meant that first, traders and next, other professionals flocked into the country from the Indian subcontinent. But still, the heartening thing about Kenyan cricket is that most of the cricketers representing the country are native Kenyans. Steve Tikolo, the Vivian Richards of Kenyan cricket, is a case in point. As also, are the likes of Maurice Odumbe, Kennedy Otieno, Martin Suji of yesteryears, and the current stars like Thomas Odoyo and Collins Obuya. Again, most of those having non-African origins, like Hitesh Modi, and the latest sensation, Tanmay Mishra, have learnt their cricket in Kenya, as opposed to the trend in Canada and UAE, for instance, where cricket is still primarily a game of, by, and more disconcertingly, for, the emigrants.

Now, that Kenya has participated in four successive ICC World Cups since 1996, with a semi-final berth in 2003 by getting better of the Sri Lankan lions as also the then much stronger Zimbabweans, it should help developing cricket in other east African nations like Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. Uganda and Tanzania, by the way, teamed up with Kenya, when the three participated in the first ever ICC World Cup in 1975 under the banner of East Africa. Former Kenya captain and all-rounder, Maurice Odumbe—the star of Kenya’s fairytale triumph over West Indies in the 1996 edition of the Cup, can be the ideal person to lead this development process.

Recurrent political unrest, as in Uganda, and sometimes escalating to civil wars, especially in Rwanda and Burundi, remain a threat to progress to team games in these countries, though. But when Angola, can rise from near-similar situations to reach the FIFA World Cup finals in 2006, why can’t Rwanda do the same in the ICC World Cup?

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