In a town which the British first settled following the discovery of gold some years ago, the sharp crack of ball against bat marks the rebirth of a colonial sport now finding favour again in Ghetto.
Cricket in Botswana, once the preserve of the elite community, is now being enjoyed by rich and poor alike and it’s not only football being played by kids on the street in Monarch, Donga and Block I.
Young boys and girls who talked to The Voice said their desire is to play for the national team. 15-year-old Odirile Mapeu of Donga location said he wanted to join the Indian Cricket League.
Mapeu is well aware that cricket in India is as popular as soccer is in Botswana. However, that does not deter him from fighting to the bitter end and catch the selective eyes of cricket coaches plying their trade in India.
“When others say they want to be the future Christian Ronaldo of Botswana, I tell them that I want to be Botswana’s Andy Flower,” said Herbert Nkanyiso also of Donga.
Nkanyiso, a Standard 7 student at Pelotswana Primary, said he is now serving as a mentor to a number of his peers both at school and at home when it comes to luring them to choose cricket over football.
In a statement, Botswana Cricket Association (BCA) Secretary, Sumod Damodar said, “We want cricket to reach across the country.”
Damodar said the BCA needs to get to a point where kids from birth to accept the culture of cricket.
“We want to get to a point where a kid is born and at the age of five or six, he or she will already start running around and chasing the ball.
Our intention is to make cricket as popular as football,” said an excited Damodar.