With the growing popularity of the sport of cricket in Africa, Rwanda has invested in a new cricket stadium.
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Rwanda may not be particularly well-known for the sport of cricket, but it's about to get a spectacular new stadium. The game has been growing in popularity, and the country's President Paul Kagame will be among those at the official opening of the ground tomorrow on the outskirts of the capital. The celebrations will include a match featuring former internationals Michael Vaughan of England and South Africa's Herschelle Gibbs. The BBC’s Alex Capstick has been to visit the venue.
Practicing at the old cricket ground in Kigali – a tatty rutted field with a concrete wicket full of cracks. It was the only pitch in the country until now.
Well this is the brand new national cricket stadium in Rwanda - a vast area of lush grass surrounded by thick green vegetation, superb views towards the distant hills. And this would be spectacular anywhere in the world, but remember this is sub-Saharan Africa in a country where the game only really began in 1999.
I’m with one of the all-rounders for the national team, Derrick Bayingana. And Derek just first of all explain what it's like or how excited you are about playing at a venue like this.
Yeah this is like a dream coming true because having this cricket field like in our country now in Rwanda is such an amazing thing. We used to see this like in South Africa or in Kenya and we admire to have one. So we are so happy do to have to have such a facility like this.
Located on one of the few bits of Flatland in the hilly capital, donated by the government, the building work has been funded by a British charity. It includes a state of the art pavilion. Its eye-catching roof is in the shape of a bouncing ball. Charles Haba is president of the Rwandan Cricket Association.
It’s a beautiful addition to Rwanda’s already beautiful landscape. We will now have an opportunity for the boys and girls to play on tough wickets. We will be able to not only grow our numbers, but also the quality of cricket that we are playing. And it is something we will keep our eyes on.
Cricket is the country's fastest growing sport, and is also doing its bit to heal the trauma of Rwanda's bloody past. The Genocide Museum in Kigali gives a graphic and disturbing account of the 1994 slaughter in which more than 800 000 people lost their lives. Enthusiasm for the game was clearly evident during my visit to Kigali. And with a world class venue which will be the envy of other emerging cricketing nations across the continent, there's every reason to be optimistic about the future.