An Under 13s cricket team from Oxfordshire, England, recently held a match against Botswana’s very own Under 13s at the Botswana Cricket Association (BCA) grounds.
Another team from the South African region, Leunasia, was present at what was termed the Eastern Cricket Festival during the recently ended holidays.
This was another initiative made by the BCA’s developmental programme aimed at bringing and improving cricket standards at government schools.
The two had played one match against each other in which the much advanced England team won by a slight margin.
Seeking more onÔÇôfield skills from the overseas side, the Botswana side had then asked for a rematch after learning that the former had extended their days of stay in Botswana.
England won once again but the animosity was lost as both teams claimed to have acquired new skills from their counterparts.
The team traveled all the way from England on an appeal made to Oxfordshire by their coach Andrew Martindale. They came accompanied by their parents who also wanted to support their children while experiencing Africa.
Martindale, it turns out, used to be a teacher at Thornhill in Gaborone years before he went back to England. According to one parent from the England team, they, as parents, had decided to raise money for the kids to come play in Botswana.
This was inspired by the passion for cricket and learning that was so visible from their children. The parents went on to explain the good team spirit and enthusiasm that was shown by the cricket association in welcoming them.
“We have been talking amongst ourselves that we want to extend an invitation to the association that they should bring the kids over to England soon. Our aim is to create an exchange of skills so that, with time, it becomes a normal routine. I am sure the kids from both teams will be excited; they are having a fantastic time,” said the parent.
Speaking to the Sunday Standard, Botswana coach, Obert Musiyamanje, claimed that the friendly match was an initiative towards preparing for the upcoming national tours.
“It also helps us in that we are able to measure the performance of our team against a much stronger side, judge where our weaknesses are, and pay attention to detail,” said Musiyamanje.
Meanwhile, another coach from the England side, Tim Marcon, said he was amazed at the co-operative spirit displayed by the Botswana teams.
“We had two injuries on our side; the Botswana team volunteered to give us two of their own as replacements, and they were marvelous. They gave us Thuso Motlogelwa, whom I consider as one of the best young players here,” said Marcon.
The injured two had been attended to quickly after experiencing minor injuries such as a peeled off nail and one collapsed due to heat exhaustion but they both recovered.
Marcon spoke on behalf of Martindale who was an umpire on the field when he expressed his gratitude towards the ‘nice people” of Botswana and how well they treated them and their children.
“It’s an experience the kids will never forget,” said Marcon. Marcon also stated how Martindale was still attached to giving back to Botswana because he had lived here a couple of years before going back home.
Katlego Sema won the best fielder of the game in the rematch.