There was a worry in the country that if there was a sudden increase in participation it would stretch the country’s resources too thinly. Currently, there are no shops in Sierra Leone where an individual can buy cricket equipment and the limited resources are already stretched thinly. Whilst the Sierra Leone Cricket Association is looking to increase participation, without more equipment the quality of training sessions and matches would decline. Sierra Leone’s cricketers therefore rely on donations in order to play and enjoy the game, which have become harder to come by since the start of the pandemic.
However, the passion to grow the sport globally has not been lost despite individuals’ on-going hardships. Kent Cricket Club, based in Freetown, has received a donation of sporting equipment from Mike Pawley. Pawley, a former First-Class cricketer now turned businessman and philanthropist, has a long history of donating equipment to Kent Cricket Club aiding sport in the West African country to grow. The most recent donation sees items including batting gloves, pads, bats, helmets, stumps, shoe spikes, football shoes and shin guards for the benefit and development of Sierra Leonean sport. On receiving the donation, Musa Sam Ganda, Development Manager, Kent Cricket Club stated ‘We want to sincerely express our gratitude and thanks to Mike Pawley and everyone who supported the donations …. We are really inspired by his commitment to making a difference in this volatile period when it is extremely difficult to ship goods from Australia to any part of the world’.
When speaking about his inspiration behind the donations, Pawley reflects that ‘a little done by a lot of people can make a great difference’. Pawley then continued that ‘When I was a kid my family was very poor so I understand poverty. My connections with schools and sporting bodies in my district called Manly-Warringah (a northern area of Sydney) has helped me round up more than a hundred cartons of goods that can now be sent. Sounds like a lot but it is so little and if I had more I would do much more … COVID will pass and everyone will need to be involved in some group activity. Cricket serves a great purpose for the well-being of any society. Cricket changed my life for the better and I am sure it will do the same for anyone who participated in the game’.
Kent Cricket Club has been able to source donations from a variety of different sources including Australian Big Bash side Sydney Thunder, who have also previously sent across cricketing equipment. However, one donation to the cause goes a long way to helping other sports develop across the country. Kent cricket club ensures that the benefits of a donation are felt across the sporting community as resources are spread around the sporting fraternity.
Thanks to the continuation of donations and everlasting passion, cricket in Sierra Leone continues to thrive and with sport slowly starting to resume in the country cricket can once again strive for improvement.
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