Eric Dusingizimana, the captain for the Rwandan national cricket team has said that the newly-constructed Gahanga cricket stadium is a dream come true. The official opening is today, Friday the 3rd of November 2017, and the honours will be enacted by the country’s long-time president, Paul Kagame.
The inaugurations will be marking the end of an astonishing six-year task undertaken by the Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation, a British charity, who have managed to raise the necessary £1 million for the building of the breathtaking new home for Rwanda’s cricket games.
The Lord’s of East Africa
As well as acting as captain for the country’s national side, Dusingizimana, who holds a civil engineering job, has also served as the general manager for the RCSF as they set about constructing the Lord’s of East Africa, in Gahanga, roughly a half-hour drive from the centre of the country’s capital, Kigali.
While that title may initially come across as slightly overblown, it is not, in fact, very far off. Down an otherwise modest dusty track sits a simple, yet somehow stunning, ground, typical of what you’d find in Africa. It has sweeping grass banks for the spectators it expects to see, and a chic, three-domed pavilion which seems to mimic not only the bounce of a cricket ball but the rolling Rwanda hills that provide the beautiful backdrop.
A Feat of Engineering
This pretty pavilion, which is set to serve as a testing centre for HIV and a restaurant in days to come, is an incredible feat of engineering, as well. It was erected with 66 000 handmade tiles, in layers, without concrete, the same way in which Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia was built, although this pavilion has the bonus of actually getting finished.
It overlooks the only flat land in eyesight, thanks to this country’s reputations as being the land of a thousand hills, being a richly deserved one, and, in a nutshell, it could scarcely be any more different from where cricket in this country has been played until now.
Cricket’s Real Cow Corner
As punters who keep track of cricket as it is played the world over in order to stay on top of the markets online betting NZ offers will know, before the Gahanga Stadium the only other pitch available was the one at Ecole Technique Officielle. This was the setting for an infamous massacre in 1994, and served as the location for the film Shooting Dogs eventually.
This field is an extraordinarily bumpy one, where fielders in the deeps would need to be aware of the possibility of losing teeth as balls bounced up off of the uneven ground. It also possessed, in a direct quote from Dusingizimana, Cricket’s Real Cow Corner: some of these beasts grazing around the area would occasional set off on sorties throughout the outfield, resembling very much some umpires we’re too polite to mention!
It fell far short of a good cricket location, and was in fact deemed so utterly inadequate that this country’s national side have actually been forced to play every one of their games outside of Rwanda. Given these circumstances, as well, it is pretty miraculous that cricket has taken off the way it has in Rwanda, but it has, providing a much-need unifying force. After the nightmarish 1994 genocide, cricket was brought back to the ravaged land by those returning to their birthplace after years in exile, and its popularity has been growing ever since.