In a boon for the sport in the region, cricket is all set to make its debut in the 2023 Africa Games. Due to be hosted by Ghana in August 2023, it will constitute the 13th edition of the multi-sport games. So far, 25 sporting disciplines have been confirmed with cricket being one of them.
The inclusion of the sport came after a successful pitch by the ICC Africa Team consisting of officials Patricia Karambani and Kuben Pillay, during their visit to the Local Organising Committee last week.
The push to feature cricket in next year’s Africa Games has been a couple of years in the making. During his appearance on the Emerging Cricket Podcast in 2020, ICC Global Development Head William Glenwright had mentioned how his team were having ongoing talks with relevant regional authorities to get cricket incorporated in more and more multi-sport games. Featuring in such regional and sub-regional events in Asia, Africa, Americas and Oceania should serve as a dress rehearsal for the ultimate goal, which is inclusion in the Olympics.
“The Olympics is the game-changer, but it’s not just the Olympics that can drive those benefits for our members. We are in the Pacific Games and we also are in discussions with both the All-Africa Games and the Pan American Games to get cricket included”, Glenwright had stated previously.
Furthermore, cricket is set to make a comeback at the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China; whilst the 2022 Commonwealth Games will also feature cricket for the first time since 1998.
Boost for African Cricket
Cricket’s inclusion in the 2023 Africa Games is fantastic news for the 18 Associate members in the continent, in addition to the two established full members of South Africa and Zimbabwe. It will enable the Associates to get access to government funding or government facilities and programs, which would assist greatly with development and increasing cricket’s profile in those respective nations.
While Namibia grabbed all the headlines and plaudits with their performances at the T20 World Cup last year, the sport has been making steady progress elsewhere in the continent, particularly the eastern and south-western regions.
Intriguingly, the game has also recently gained a foothold in the the former French colonies of Africa, despite the many cultural and linguistic barriers. Currently, the Francophone African Associate cricket contingent consists of poster boys Rwanda, alongside Mali, Cameroon and Seychelles with Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso also hoping to submit ICC membership applications in the near future.
Although the fixtures and schedule are yet to be confirmed, the cricket matches will be played at Achimota Cricket Field in capital city Accra, Ghana. It is not yet known which of ICC Africa’s members will be taking part in the event.
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