The Botswana Cricket Association (BCA) has embarked on a vigorous campaign to develop the sport in Botswana. The association has started from the grassroots level where their main targets are kids. Since most kids are in lower schools, the BCA started by approaching five primary schools in and around Gaborone for their initiative. Tshepho Bogosing paid a visit to one of the schools, Rasesa, to see how the programme is progressing.
Cricket is normally considered an elite sport, which is mainly played by those people from well-to-do backgrounds and, in Botswana, it is no exception because only a few locals play the sport. Most of the schools that started offering cricket are private ones while most public schools mainly consider the traditional sports, such as football, netball and volleyball.
However, if the initiative by the BCA is anything to go by, the perception might change among many Batswana and cricket might end up as one of the fastest growing sports in the country.
The BCA selected five primary schools to launch the initiative and these are Mojadife, Rasesa, Philip Moshotle, Kgosi Kgosi and the SOS Children’s Village in Tlokweng. The Sunday Standard visited Rasesa.
More than 100 kids take part in the sport and they showed enthusiasm in the sport. One could be forgiven to think the children had been playing the game for some time.
The kids are under the tutelage of two teachers, Maggie Ramosako and Thuto Barei. The two teachers spearheaded the sport just three months ago.
Despite a huge turnout of the students for cricket, Ramosako and Barei say each child is given an opportunity to learn. The school is divided into two categories, the under 13 and 15, and there is no gender discrimination.
The two teachers, however, say despite strides they have made, there is still a long way to go.
“Parents of these kids have been so kind to us and did not view cricket as a foreign sport. Instead, they came on board and even bought their kids playing attire. When we wrote them letters to help buy attire for the students, we thought that we were going to encounter tough resistance but it was not the case. These kids are improving on a daily basis because every weekend they go to Gaborone where they play at the Oval ground under some experienced coaches. But what we have now is not enough and we still need a lot of equipment such as bats and some balls. And it is very expensive,” said Ramosako.
Barei, on the other hand, did not only thank the parents but also the Kgatleng District Council for their continuous support. She said the council has been providing the kids with transport to Gaborone from the moment they started and continue to do so. She also said the parents rarely give them a hard time when they tour Gaborone during the weekends and school holidays.
“Most primary schools struggle with transport but we are fortunate enough because of the Kgatleng Council. I think this is one way in which the sport can grow in our school and at the end of the day it is the country that is benefiting. Hopefully many schools would in future emulate what we are doing,” she said.
Ramosako and Barei hold level one cricket-coaching courses and intend to upgrade their qualifications in the near future.
Meanwhile, the sports organiser for Rasesa Primary, Joseph Olaotse, told The Sunday Standard that he is not surprised by a huge turnout of the students for cricket. He said Rasesa Primary is a renowned sports school, which dominates in many areas. He said the school would be representing Kgatleng West region in the upcoming regional competitions.
“Both our football and netball teams are popular in the whole of Kgatleng. This is so because we take sports seriously and this results in our teams performing exceptionally well. In the last competitions our football team won all their five games, while our netballers won three. We also intend to take cricket to another level and be a force to reckon with in the near future,” he said.
Olaotse also said if all goes well, they intend to introduce volleyball before the end of the year. Adding that introducing it would better prepare the students for junior secondary school.