Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Sierra Leone Cricket “rising from Ashes”

Sierra Leone as a country has experienced more than its fair share of hardship.
The civil war which stretched from 1991 to 2002, decimated the country. 50,000 people were killed, hundreds of thousands were wounded, many permanently, and towns, villages and cities were left without basic amenities.
Cricket which had a rich history in the country of course cricket was a victim and not spared.
Few people may be aware that cricket has been played in Sierra Leone at sub-regional domestic level since the 1930’s and was enjoyed by a modest but dedicated and passionate group of followers and participants. Unsurprisingly, the civil war obliterated nearly all the cricketing infrastructure. Grounds and equipment were destroyed almost without exception.
Many would think that the game could have and perhaps, should have died. Instead, it has made a genuine “From the Ashes” comeback.
Cricket bringing hope in Sierra Leone. Cricket is making all the right noises from Afghanistan to Sierra Leone
Juniors are playing the sport in larger numbers than ever and the nation fields representative sides at every level in African regional tournaments.
 Incredibly, like the rise of Phoenix Sierra Leone national Under-19 squad in 2008 in a dream like performances defeating African heavy weights like Kenya & Namibia successfully came runners up in Africa and won its way through to the final stages of U-19 World Cup qualifying in Toronto, Canada. Sadly shattering all dreams the Canadian government refused them visa’s and denied in what could have been a Afghanistan like story.
Cricket in Sierra Leone has made all the right noises and recently received a major boost with the announcement that United Kingdom based coaching agency Coaching Cricket Excellence has donated equipment - including bats, pads, katchets, helmets, gloves and balls - to the Kenemmanjane Club in Freetown.
The SL cricket mostly consists of Clubs. Of them once club stands out-the Kenemmanjane Cricket Club . The club has both men’s and women’s teams that are presently in domestic leagues and competitions and the women’s team was Bronze medal winner at the Sierra Leone National Women’s T20 Cricket League 2012.
The Director of Coaching Cricket Excellence Peter Willings said helping Sierra Leone is part of a wider aim I have to supply cricket kit and other sporting equipment to parts of the world that are not as advantaged as Britain. “We have more than enough cricket equipment here, both new and old, and I believe it’s only right that people elsewhere get use of it rather than it being available to those who have plenty already.”

Coaching Cricket Excellence is a Coaching Agency based in Ealing, West London, England. They exist to help people of all ages play the sport. They currently have projects running in Uganda, India, Rwanda, South Africa and the Caribbean.

Peter Willings said “Kenemmanjane Cricket Club is doing a wonderful job helping generate interest in cricket. Keep getting the children involved from as young an age as possible and with luck you’ll get a touring team from the UK come visit you soon.”

Peter further promised that he will continue to help the Kenemmanjane Cricket Club with equipments and other areas as long as he is able to. “I’ve assisted with sending cricket kit to Uganda, India, Rwanda, Afghanistan, the West Indies and South Africa thus far. I would like to say a big thank you to my friend Bernie Spratt and our donors for their support, without that it wouldn’t have happened.”
The Founder and Secretary General of the Kenemmanjane Cricket Club Emmanuel Pessima spoke of his delight at receiving the new equipments. “We have the desire to develop cricket much more extensively at the grassroots level but we don’t have the necessary equipment and facilities. Hopefully this donation will be the beginning of something wonderful. “We would like to thank the Coaching Cricket Excellence and their donors for wonderful contribution. It will really help us and we are very grateful.”
Let’s hope this would help SL cricket rise to higher places and would be closely watch them in the African Div 2 which is undergoing presently in SA.