The Rwanda Cricket Association (RCA) has announced its intentions of staging the Kwibuka T20 Tournament from June 4-13 in Kigali. Held on an annual basis since its inception in 2014, the tournament had to be cancelled last year due to the difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The tournament is a laudable initiative by RCA to commemorate the millions of lives lost during the heinous Rwandan genocide. The 2019 edition featured women’s teams from regional neighbours Uganda, Tanzania as well as newcomers Mali competing against the hosts in a double round robin league format.
The tournament announcement from RCA comes on the back of approval from the Ministry of Sports, which issued a bulletin recently allowing the men and women’s cricket teams to recommence training for their upcoming competitions. Kwibuka will have full ICC status, thereby enabling the participating nations to play for ICC ranking points. Furthermore, it will also present the teams with an opportunity to hone their skills in preparation for the Women’s T20 World Cup Africa Qualifier in Botswana. As of now, the Africa qualifiers are supposed to be held in the month of September.
“The goal is to improve Rwanda’s performances across the men, women and the Under 19 national teams. We are aware that improving performance requires you to win and if you win the tournament, you go up in the ICC rankings,” said RCA Secretary-General Julius Mbaraga in a statement to The New Times.
While the eventual format has not been finalised yet, it is understood that RCA has extended invitations to Namibia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Botswana, Malawi, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania to participate in the tournament. According to the association, the competition will be played with strict COVID-19 protocols in place. This will include things like the mandatory use of masks, social distancing, temperature checks, testing and provision of sanitisers for players, crew and equipment.
RCA in partnership with Cricket Builds Hope, has done exemplary work in using cricket as a tool for women’s empowerment. The efforts of both organisations were officially recognised by the International Cricket Council (ICC) last year with an award for ‘100% Cricket Participation Programme of the Year’.
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