Cricket in Rwanda is a relatively new sport. Its popularity grew after the 1994 genocide, when many Rwandans who had been living in exile in English-speaking cricket-playing countries – such as Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda – returned home, and brought the sport with them.
The Rwanda Cricket Association was formed in 1999 and the game is now played by almost 5,000 individuals. The 11-month calendar cricketing calendar includes a club league, three club tournaments, a school competition and a university competition. Visiting school or university teams are welcome to play against home sides.
About half an hour outside Kigali is the Gahanga Cricket Stadium, Rwanda’s first proper cricket ground, which opened in 2017. Thanks to the British charity Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation, now Cricket for Hope, Rwanda has an ICC international standard wicket with a pavilion and bar, as well as community facilities such as a medical centre, which allows the Rwanda Biomedical Centre to deliver free HIV testing.
In a fantastic feat of engineering, the domed pavilion is built using 66,000 handmade tiles in layers without using concrete. The stadium has been dubbed the “Lords of Africa”.
The national side is captained by Eric Dusingizimana, a civil engineer and Guinness World Record holder for batting for an outstanding 51 hours straight.
The game is also played less formally across the country, in schools and orphanages. Community programmes encourage women to take up sports and challenge gender stereotypes.
The Rwandan national cricket team is the team that represents the Republic of Rwanda in international cricket. They became an affiliate member of the International Cricket Council in 2003 and an associate member in 2017.
Today, cricket is one of the fastest-growing sports in the Country. Cricket involves two teams with 11 players on each side. The captain who wins the toss decides whether his team bats or bowls first.