Cricket is a relatively new sport in Rwanda. Its popularity grew after the 1994 genocide, when many Rwandans who had been living in exile in English-speaking cricket-playing countries – such as Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda – returned home, and brought the sport with them.
The Rwanda Cricket Association was formed in 1999 and the game is now played by almost 5,000 individuals. The 11-month calendar cricketing calendar includes a club league, three club tournaments, a schools’ competition and a university competition. Visiting school or university teams are welcome to play against home sides.
About half an hour outside Kigali is the Gahanga Cricket Stadium, Rwanda’s first proper cricket ground, which opened in 2017. Thanks to the British charity Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation, now Cricket for Hope, Rwanda has an ICC international standard wicket with pavilion and bar, as well as community facilities such as a medical centre, which allows the Rwanda Biomedical Centre to deliver free HIV testing.
In a fantastic feat of engineering, the domed pavilion is built using 66,000 handmade tiles in layers without using concrete. The stadium has been dubbed the “Lords of Africa”.
The national side is captained by Eric Dusingizimana, a civil engineer and Guinness World Record holder for batting for an outstanding 51 hours straight.
The game is also played less formally across the country, in schools and orphanages. Community programmes encourage women to take up the sport and challenge gender stereotypes.