Makhaya Ntini © Getty Images
Makhaya Ntini © Getty Images

As England has started their tour of South Africa, around 1700 miles away, in outskirts of Rwanda’s capital Kigali, a ray of hope is coming up. Makhaya Ntini, former South African player has helped in laying foundations of Rwanda’s first international cricket stadium at Gahanga which is seven kilometres away from the main city.  The ground breaking ceremony took place at the site called ‘home of cricket’ – a project which will consists of cricket pitches, practice facilities and an art pavilion. This construction is the work of Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation (RCSF), part of British-based charity, where the Rwanda Cricket Association (RCA) will help providing free HIV test for local people and an educational space. ALSO READ: Fans raise funds to build stadium in Rwanda

The construction is to begin on 2016 and the first match is scheduled for 2017 with Prime Minister David Cameron as well as West indies legend Brian Lara as a part of inaugural match. RCSF Project Manager, Alby Shale, son of Christopher Shale, who is a close friend of Cameron, died in 2011 on whose memory the foundation was established. This vision was to build a home for cricket of Rwanda.

In conversation with independent.co.uk, Shale said, “We are building this ground to provide a permanent home for the sport and facilitate community reconciliation through cricket. All Rwandans, from all different backgrounds, will have the opportunity to use the facility. We are extremely excited to move into the construction stage of the project and our success will be measured by the legacy we leave behind.” Shale broke a record for batting net for 26 hours at the indoor school at The Oval to raise awareness and funds for charity in 2013. ALSO READ: Makhaya Ntini looks forward to match at Mount Kilimanjaro summit

The RCSF has also set a record by involving in setting record for the highest game of cricket played, 5752 metres up, near Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2014, where Ntini was the first African to represent his country in cricket. Ntini said, “It is great to see the RCSF investing in Rwanda’s future, enhancing its sporting landscape and helping to spread the game I love. Investing in facilities will build on the excellent work of the Rwanda Cricket Association and allow as many people as possible to take up the game. I look forward to seeing Rwanda taking on South Africa very soon!” The foundation hopes that the ground is open by 2017 to mark a remarkable day in cricket.