During the past year cricket development within Laikipia and various parts of Northern Maasailand has been very active and the popularity of the game is on the increase in the area! The year saw many exciting events and activities take place which have contributed to a very successful 2011 for cricket development in the region and this has laid a foundation for us to build on this progress in 2012.
The first main cricket activity during 2011 got underway in February, which saw a team of volunteer coaches from Cricket Without Boundaries making their way to Laikipia to assist with coaching clinics at schools and cricket coaching seminars for teachers and future coaches. The game was introduced to 8 new schools and the cricket progrmme branched out, spreading the game into new areas. Laikipia now proudly boasts 56 Introductory and Level One Cricket Coaches, while we have 15 Primary Schools, 5 Secondary Schools, 3 Youth Groups and 2 Children’s Homes playing cricket. This is a fabulous achievement which can only ensure continued growth and sustainability of cricket in Laikipia.
In August, the Maasai Cricket Warriors got their first proper taste of a competitive match against the expat Dik-Diks team from Tanzania. The Maasai Cricket Warriors got to travel to Ol Pejeta Conservancy, which was the venue of the cricket match and they stayed at the Ngobit River Lodge with the visitors and engaged in cultural exchanges, which was enjoyed by all. The competition was very intense on the field and although the Maasai Cricket Warriors found themselves in a winning position, they rued the numerous dropped chances that cost them a narrow defeat by 2 wickets. It was a memorable experience in a fabulous setting in the middle of a wildlife conservancy where wildlife and in particular a massive herd of about 200 buffalo made up the majority of spectators – an absolutely unique adventure!
September saw another outing and a road trip to participate in the Laikipia Highland Sports For Peace Games. This was the second consecutive year in which the Maasai Cricket Warriors participated and joined in the camaraderie to foster peace amongst rival ethnic groups. The Maasai Cricket Warriors played an exhibition match against a team from the Rift Valley Cricket Club. In their second proper cricket match they once again performed admirably and narrowly lost out on a victory in a nail-biting 2 run loss. It was a fantastic achievement considering that the team was up against a side that regularly plays league cricket. The visit to the Laikipia Highland Games consisted of a 2-night camping excursion in another nature and wildlife conservancy and following a massive feast with abundant meat for all, the night was ushered in with traditional song and dance around a bonfire, before all the athletes retired into their tents to the lullaby of the hyaenas cries.
During October we finally managed to launch our own website and we are excited to be able to keep all our supporters up-to-date with all the news and adventures of the Maasai Cricket Warriors! The website is still partially under construction so do check back periodically for more photographs, news and information and stay abreast with our latest updates and blogs.
December was an exciting period for the Maasai Cricket Warriors following the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) recognition of the team as ambassadors of their THINK WISE AIDS Awareness programme, which is a joint venture between the ICC, Unicef and UNAIDS. The Maasai Cricket Warriors have become role models and ambassadors in their communities where they are actively campaigning against retrogressive and harmful cultural practices such as FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) and early childhood marriages and they are fighting for the rights of women in order to eradicate discrimination against women in Maasai communities. Through sports participation they are also promoting healthier lifestyles and spreading awareness about HIV/AIDS amongst youth.
We have been holding a fundraising drive during the year to raise sufficient funds to send 12 up-and-coming Maasai Cricket Warriors to attend the Legends Cricket Nursery Academy based in Mombasa. We are pleased to announce that this will go ahead in the New Year with the players expected to leave for the coast mid-January. We are also eagerly awaiting the return of Cricket Without Boundaries in February with a new team of volunteers expected to assist in introducing the game into new schools and recruiting and training more cricket coaches. Provided that all goes well and that we manage to raise the funds required, we will be sending a team of Maasai Cricket Warriors to Cape Town, South Africa at the end of March to participate in the “Last Man Stands Cricket World Championships”. Exciting times lie ahead . . .
Well done to everyone who has been involved with the Maasai Cricket development programme and who has contributed in any way to make this a continued success. We are deeply grateful to everyone who donated cricket equipment and who made generous contributions to our fundraising drives. We also salute all the individuals who volunteered their time, skills and efforts in various ways – you have all been a valuable part of our success!
ASHE O’LENG! / ASANTE SANA! / THANK YOU!!!
The year ahead has many exciting prospects lined up and we are looking forward to an even more successful year ahead, so stay tuned for all the news . . .
We trust that everyone had an enjoyable festive season and we wish you a fabulous 2012 filled with abundant blessings, success and happiness and may all your dreams come true both on and off the field . . .
“Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.”
~ Muhammad Ali
“We hope that you had a joyous festive season – wishing you peace, joy, happiness and success in all that you do in 2012 . . .”
The Maasai Cricket Warriors