Gahanga Cricket Stadium (GCS) opened in October 2017 and has been dubbed the 'Lord's of East Africa'. The not-for-profit ground consists of an ICC international standard wicket with pavilion and bar, as well as community facilities. It has won and been nominated for several prestigious architecture and engineering awards.
The three vaults, designed to mimic the trajectory of a bouncing ball as well as Rwanda's rolling hills, were constructed out of 66,000 tiles made primarily from local earth excavated on site. The tiles were each handmade, predominantly using local labour sourced through Rwandan Government-led social protection programme, the Vision Umurenge Project, aimed at the two poorest categories of the population.
A Brief History
There are reports of cricket being played in Rwanda in the 1990s, but the sport took hold in the aftermath of the genocide in 1994. Many Rwandans who had spent years living in exile in nearby cricket playing countries like Kenya and Uganda returned to their homeland, bringing the sport back with them. After 1994, Rwanda, a former Belgian colony, moved from the Francophone sphere of influence to the Anglophone. The official second language changed from French to English and sports like cricket were embraced. In 2009, Rwanda joined the Commonwealth, becoming only the second member country without a British colonial past or constitutional link to Britain.
In 1999, Charles Haba established the Rwanda Cricket Association and became its first president. The RCA was recognised by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 2003 and established a home at the Ecole Techique Officielle (ETO), site of a notorious 1994 genocide massacre in which UN peacekeepers abandoned 2,000 Rwandans to their deaths.
The RCSF, set up in memory of Christopher Shale, a British man who fell in love with Rwanda after travelling to Kigali ten years ago. Shale dreamt of building a proper ground for Rwandan cricketers but died in 2011 before he was able to carry out his plan. Shale’s son Alby became the project director and lived in Kigali to fulfil his father’s vision. The new ‘Lords of East Africa’ represents a new dawn for cricket in Rwanda, driving participation and engagement in the game. The Rwanda national team look forward to your support in the 2023 Cricket World Cup.
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Gahanga Cricket Stadium, Gahanga, Kigali