It was a historic moment for cricket fraternity and Rwanda as the country’s first international cricket stadium was launched.
The state-of-the-art Stadium named Gahanga Cricket Stadium which sits on 4.5 hectares (11 acres), was inaugurated by President Paul Kagame.
The construction of the stadium for developing the sport in the country cost $1.3 million (about Rwf950million), mainly raised by international cricket players eager to see the game take off in Rwanda.
The effort was lead by Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation which was set up by Alby Shale, the son of the late British politician and cricket lover, Christopher Shale who visited Rwanda to do aid work.
President Kagame said “We are very happy to have this cricket pavilion and ground built, and by that, we remember Christopher Shale, in whose memory this has been built,”
“It is a great pleasure for us to have this facility which will see more young men and women playing and improving their skills. It is also good for us to have partners in the United Kingdom,” he added.
The national team captain, Eric Dusingizimana, helped raise funds for the stadium by setting a Guinness World Record by batting for 51 hours straight last year.
“This is an exciting project for us and the younger generation is going to benefit heavily from this,” said the 31-year-old captain.
The new stadium has been built to international standards, making it the first of its kind in the East African region.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by over 200 high profile cricket personalities from different parts of the globe.
The facility, which has a luxurious bar (clubhouse), offices and changing rooms, will also have an HIV/AIDS awareness unit to provide testing and counselling services.
Rwanda Cricket Association claims that close to 10,000 Rwandans men and women of all ages have been introduced to the ‘gentleman’s game’.
The opening was attended by the Minister of Sports and Culture Juliane Uwacu, Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation (RSCF) Project Director Alby Shale and many more high profile people from the cricket fraternity.