The Botswana Cricket Association (BCA) has now been able to give the deaf a chance to enjoy and play the game of cricket by making it an increasingly accessible sport.
Like every school in the development Programme in Francistown, The Centre for the Deaf in Francistown started playing cricket in March 2010.
The school, a boarding facility which is located in the high-density suburb of Satellite, is open to both boys and girls, enabling students to play during weekends.
The school’s sports teacher, Mr Mphateng, underwent the Botswana Cricket Association initiated basic playing and coaching skills course and is responsible for their daily practices. It has been a learning curve for the Development Officer in learning the communication skills.
Northern Region Development Officer, Clement Chipanga, explained that communicating with the players is not easy.
“I have eventually picked up a little bit of sign language and managed to impart basic skills to the students. An interpreter is vital as there is a possibility of them misunderstanding what we say if we have not communicated the matter to them clear enough,” he said.
Chipanga explained that teaching by demonstrations remained vital to help communicate the message to the players.
“Demonstrations play a major role in the coaching sessions and the recipients usually nod their head to signify the understanding of the concept being put across. Interestingly, some modified sport specific signs for communication develop among the team members and help with communication during matches and training.
Though cricket has been played by people with disabilities for many years, a recent initiative has been the development to cater for those with physical disability and also those with learning difficulties.