Rwanda September 2, 2008

Rwanda embraces Britain. And cricket

Rwanda may historically be a French-speaking nation, but their increasingly close ties with England has resulted in an upsurge in cricket being played

Rwanda may historically be a French-speaking nation, but their increasingly close ties with England has resulted in an upsurge in cricket being played. Murad Ahmed has a fascinating article in today’s Times on Rwanda’s decreasing relations with France and how cricket is just one symbol of the country’s growing affinity with Britain.

Cricket is also a powerful symbol of Rwanda’s shift towards all things English. On a day off, the Conservative volunteers take on Rwandans at the game. Francis Maude, the Shadow Cabinet Office Minister, and opener for the British team, describes Rwanda as “a success story, from a country hollowed out, to a proper functioning state.”

Mr Maude top scores in the match with 20, but his wicket leads to a batting collapse, finishing with yet another English defeat at African hands.

Cricket is taking off here. In April Rwanda made the semi-finals of an International Cricket Council tournament in South Africa, beating Lesotho and Mozambique before falling to Ghana, in its best performance yet.

“With Rwanda being a Francophone country, it used to be hard to get the Ministry of Sport to be interested in the game,” says Julius Mbaraga from the Rwandan Cricket Board. “Now, it’s not a problem.”

Will Luke is assistant editor of ESPNcricinfo

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