The cricket development programme continues to grow in leaps and bounds. The first phase of the programme for this year kicked off in February.
At least 524 students from seven government primary schools registered for the programme this year.
The Botswana Cricket Association (BCA) Development Officer, Girish Ramakrishna, told Sunday Standard that since the inception of the programme last year, the number of schools in and around Gaborone, including those in the Kgatleng District have expressed interest to join the programme.
“Last year, when we started this development programme, we registered 20 schools with a total number of 1300 students. This year many schools have shown interest in joining the programme,” he said. He added that there are at least 714 government primary schools across the country and their intention is to introduce the programme to all schools.
“When we started this programme there was a slight hesitation. But the situation has changed. Some teachers from as far as Maun attend our workshops,” he said.
The primary schools that have joined this year include Bophirima, Tlhabologo, Taung, Boikhutso, Isang, Mmusi and Linchwe.
The cricket grassroots development programme is aimed at promoting cricket and to spot talent at grassroots level.
According to Ramakrishna, the programme involves, among other things, administration courses and basic teachers training courses. He said last year, the BCA held a league only for government schools.
“The training session starts from Monday to Friday. What happens is that the coaches go to schools and ask the school management if they can introduce cricket in their schools,” he said. He emphasised that they need at least two teachers from each school to impart the cricket skills.
“We do not want to be stuck in one school. That is why our strategy is to train at least two teachers so that in case of the absence of one teacher we can move on,” he said. He described the programme as a step in the right direction.
“The best way to nature talent is targeting students at the grassroots level because these are formative years for a child. The child is energetic and there is lot of enthusiasm,” he revealed.
He said students are transported from their schools and gather at BCA cricket oval every Saturday. He said they have thus far donated equipment to various schools.
The BCA Development Officer said they launched the cricket league for government schools towards the end of last year.
He said the response they got last year when they launched the league was positive.
He stated that the league was won by Mojadifhe Primary school from Mochudi which beat Rasesa Primary school.
Touching on other important issues, Ramakrishna said they were faced with a few challenges. He singled out communication as their main challenge.
“Government schools do not have telephones and faxes. This is one of the challenges that we face because these are the basic things. When we want to communicate with the schools the only option is to travel all the way there,” he said.
He also said that for the programme to produce the desired results they also need support from parents.
He said monitoring progress in schools was also another challenge that they face.
Ramakrishma said every week they send a report to the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC).
Ramakrishna further revealed that they have teamed up with the Kings Foundation, which imparts valuable life skills to children after the cricket development programme sessions.
He said given his experience, he wants to take cricket in the country to greater heights.
“I have been working with children for 25 years. Our aim this year is to have more government schools participating in the league.”