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Masai Cricket warriors to the fore again

Sun, Mar 4, 2012 5:04 PM


Masai Cricket warriors to the fore again
Masai Cricket Warrior
Cricket Without Boundaries (CWB) returned to the lands of the Maasai tribe in Laikipia, Kenya last week to continue spreading their message of HIV prevention through the game of cricket.

During their three days in the region, the CWB project team provided coaching to almost 500 cricketing rookies across four schools in the Laikipia North area. Schools such as Kimanjo Primary School had never played the game before, but their enthusiasm for this new sport was overwhelming, as they were taken through their paces by the seven CWB coaches and Cricket Kenya (CK) development officer David Asiji.

Perhaps more important from a sustainability perspective however, was that the team provided coach tutoring to a group of 20 adults (school teachers and members of the local Maasai communities), giving them a solid introduction to the skills needed to become effective cricket coaches. With so many isolated communities in the region, some of the coaches needed to show incredible stamina and determination to even make the sessions in the first place, with a number of them travelling in excess of 15 miles by foot to attend. Nonetheless, opportunities like this don't present themselves in the Laikipia region every day, and thus, the locals were keen to make the most of the sessions, with many volunteering to assist with coaching local school children following the course and others helping to run a mini-cricket tournament for schools on Saturday.

The schools tournament featured children who had already been part of structured coaching for some time, with the skill on show a testament to the efforts of ICC Development Programme Volunteer of the year Aliya Bauer who runs the Maasai cricket project, and the local coaches who had successfully progressed through CWB coaching courses previously. The event was a tremendous success with Kuri-Kuri Primary School taking out the girls event and Lentille Hills Academy Primary School triumphing in the boys' competition.

Through the combined contributions of CWB project teams and Bauer's tireless efforts to promote the game, cricket is now being played in twenty schools and by three youth groups in the Maasai area. The schools are supported by local coaches and benefit from a mass of Kwik Cricket equipment which has been donated by CWB. Accordingly, the sport is quickly becoming the number one game in town, something which could barely have been envisaged just two years ago. This has been helped along somewhat by the growing fame of the Maasai Cricket Warriors team, who have been playing in competitions through Africa during the last year and are due to compete in the Last Man Stands World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa later this month. CWB is helping the team fundraise to support their participation in the event. Donations can be made through www.justgiving.com/MaasaiCricketWarriors.

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