THE CONSTRUCTION of Rwanda’s first ever cricket stadium will commence in April 2015 after the Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation (RCSF) received a lease certificate for a 4.5 hectare plot in Gahanga on Tuesday.
RCSF, a British-based charity foundation plans to build two pitches and a pavilion overlooking the plains of Nyamata and has already raised their set target - £600,000 through fundraising ceremonies in the UK.
With the UK Prime Minister David Cameron as the patron alongside West Indies legend Brian Lara and England’s opening batswoman Heather Knight, RCSF has received tremendous financial support from friends of Rwanda.
Introduced into Rwanda in 2002, cricket has quickly grown into one of the most recognised sports disciplines in the country and currently up to 5000 youth are involved at primary, secondary and club levels across the country.
“Cricket is bringing people together in Rwanda after a troubled past. But for too long Rwanda’s small but growing cricket community has been held back by lack of facilities, which is why we are building this ground to provide a permanent home for the sport and allow all Rwandans from all different backgrounds the opportunity to play,” said Ed Pearson, the project director at RCSF.
The project was started by Christopher Shale who had witnessed the growth in enthusiasm for cricket in the country and realised that facilities were lacking. He died in 2011. The continuation of the project is in memory of Shale whose son Alby Shale set the current Guinness World Record of the longest batting hours – 26 hours at The Oval.
Alby did this to create awareness and raise funds for the construction of the stadium and had Cameron as one of his batsmen.