As cricket celebrates its 100th year internationally, 2009 is set to be a big year for massive improvement and performance for Botswana cricket.
Worldwide Botswana has joined a number of countries in preparations for the celebrations for cricket’s 100th year of existence. The International Cricket Council (ICC), of which Botswana is a member, has encouraged its member countries to promote the spirit of cricket amongst the people.
Amongst the plans advocated for to celebrate the 100th year of cricket, Botswana is set to have its very first under 11s cricket team starting in March.
The Botswana Cricket Association (BCA)’s Developmental programme has also recently started the schedule for the year with the recruitment of another batch of 8 government schools in and outside Gaborone. The Government Primary Schools cricket initiation programme has welcomed 3 schools from Mochudi, 1 from Oodi and four from Gaborone.
Lady Matchiso from Mochudi registered the largest number of students signed up for cricket with 114 students. Khuduga Primary School, from Gaborone West registered 76, and Segale Primary School from Mochudi recorded about 65 students interested in cricket.
Kgabo Sereto, Matebele, Segoditshane, and Boitumelo Primary schools have all enrolled about 60 students each into the programme. According to the developmental officer of the BCA, Girish Ramakrishna, this means that the number of students enrolled in the community building programme exceeds 3000 students.
Late last year, before the festive holidays, the initiation programme had visited places as far as Maun where they recruited about 3 primary schools and distributed cricket equipments to schools in that area. “Our plan is to head back to basics; we are in the process of developing more primary schools into cricket,” said Ramakrishna. The BCA is also looking into the issue of proposals for building cricket infrastructures in villages where the children don’t have cricket fields. They have already sent a number of letters to the Director of primary Education who has not yet responded since October. The letters were also sent to the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) and the Ministry of youth, sports and culture.
“What we are proposing is that parents and schools find a suitable piece of land and allocate it as a cricket ground. We, as the BCA, shall build the infrastructure and at the end of the day they own the plot; the children would now have a suitable ground for playing their sport of interest,” said Ramakrishna. According to Ramakrishna, should their proposal be implemented, situations whereby the children from outside Gaborone are always traveling to Gaborone to attend competitions would be reduced and Gaborone could possibly be for semi-finals and finals only.
“Even international students would be able to come compete with these students in their home villages, instead of Gaborone always; we are also trying to avoid a situation whereby some schools can not make it to the competitions because the school could not find transport to bring the kids to Gaborone,” said Ramakrishna.
The BCA also plans to get more teachers involved in the spirit of uplifting cricket in government schools. The plan to improve the number of workshops carried out to teaching teachers the collective techniques involved in the sporting field would also be intensified. “This is a community effort not an association; we therefore need all the help and co-operation we can get from parents and teachers as they play a vital role in the development of the child. We are continuously trying to engage more teachers to become part of our programme,” said Girish.