Kicukiro oval to give way to artificial turf
In 2006, when the national cricket team was departing for South Africa for the ICC division III world cricket league tournament, the Minister of Sports and Culture Joseph Habineza was quoted saying that cricket wasn’t in his ministry’s financing priority.
Those words have come to reality as the much treasured cricketer’s Kicukiro oval will be erased to give way to the planned artificial turf stadium that will be as a training ground during the forthcoming African Youth Championship due in Kigali from January 18-February 1, 2009.
The Ministry of Sports and Culture (Minispoc) will construct an artificial turf where Rwanda Cricket Association (RCA) held its events.
According to Minispoc Director of Sports, Gaspard Kayijuka, “They have already relocated to the nearby site and they were positive on the decision taken by the Sports Ministry.”
Although this comes at a time when RCA, the local cricket ruling body is trying to wind up its 2008 calendar, the association head Charles Haba has criticized the development insisting that they have put the future of cricket in jeopardy.
“This ground has been the home of cricket in Rwanda for many years so the eviction has greatly affected us,” he desolately said.
“We have been promised an alternative ground but we don’t know how soon that will be but we are keeping our fingers crossed,” Haba added.
The Kicukiro artificial turf is among the two stadiums which will be constructed to accommodate training sessions for participating countries in next year’s African Youth Championship.
Apart from the Kicukiro stadium, another artificial turfed stadium will be constructed at Mumena grounds with just three months remaining before the tournament.
Both Amahoro and Nyamirambo stadiums are the main playing venues for the two-week long event, the first ever to be staged in the East African region.
Congo Brazzaville is the defending champions after winning last year’s title on home soil.
Fourteen teams including Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Benin, Gambia, Sudan, Zambia, Congo, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea, Ivory Coast and Egypt are among those vying for the seven slots for next year’s championship.
The second leg of the second round qualification is due this weekend ahead of the group draws whose ceremony is scheduled for November 28 in Kigali.