The Under 11s cricket championship league came to an end when the finals were held at the Botswana Cricket club recently.
The league finals drew in important guests from the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC), amongst them, the council’s chairperson, Dr Nomsa Mbere.
The Member of Parliament for Kgatleng East, Isaac Mabiletsa, also managed to grace the event, which is another initiative of the developmental programs aimed at introducing and improving the standards of cricket amongst pupils in government aided primary schools.
As it turns out, the chairman of the Botswana Cricket Association (BCA), Ebrahim Bhamjee, had initially proposed to resign from his post at the club two weeks before the finals, but after seeing the young, enthusiastic and hardworking lads practicing to become the best at the sport they have come to love, he changed his mind.
The finals were between Ramogotsi Primary School and Itumeleng Primary School.
Ramogotsi walked away with the first ever title of being Under 11 champions in the history of the BCA.
According to Girish Ramakrishna, treasurer of the BCA and head of the developmental programme, the Under 11 title was created so that a clear career path is cut for players to fit in the national team with enough experience.
The BCA already has an Under 13, Under 15, Under 17, Under 19 and the national squad. Even though the final was between the two schools, about 12 primary schools that had been involved in the league were expected to be there.
About four schools were absent from the grounds because of lack of transportation.
“We are still facing a problem with transportation of the children; that is why, as the BCA, we have decided to build cricket pitches at the schools involved in the program, and call these pitches, Centers of Excellence. We are glad that we have a member of parliament here who will be able to help us speed up the process,” said Ramakrishna. As a way of making sure that everyone walked away a winner, the BCA handed over cricket equipments, such as bats, gloves, balls and t-shirts, amongst others, to all the participating teams.
On her part, Mbere acknowledged teachers and their input in the children’s cricket development as they volunteered their services for free.
“I would like to thank teachers because our sporting codes rely on teachers who volunteer to help and teach certain sports to our students. I would also like to acknowledge the BCA for their hardworking in raising funds for the kids, and to the kids I am very impressed that you managed to overcome the stereotype that cricket is for white people only,” said Mbere.
At the end of the match, Thabo Patlakwe, from Itumeleng Primary School was named the player of the tournament; he also received trophies for being Man of the Match in three matches, one against Ramogotsi, Tsogang and Ikageng.
Thabo Moselele from Ikageng was named the league’s Emerging Player.
From the finals Letang Baile from Ramogotsi primary won the trophies for the best player and the best bowler of the match, while Kitso Kwapa, another player from Ramogotsi, won the Best Batsman.
Festus Makole from Itumeleng walked away with the Best Fielder award.
Tsogang primary school received an award for team with the best spirit of the game.