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Charles Haba: Man Behind Success Of Rwanda’s Cricket Bids Farewell

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Charles Haba: Man Behind Success Of Rwanda’s Cricket Bids Farewell

At the AGM of Saturday 22/04/17, I step down as President of Rwanda Cricket Association. 

Having been at the helm of the organization since its formal inception in December 2000, it has been a roller coaster 17 year-journey. Introducing a new “strange” game to the Rwandese has been quite a memorable experience I will never forget.

I have made a multitude of friends both on & off the field who have had a great influence on the game.  

As I rewind the clock to the golden university days in 1999 in Butare, I am humbled when I recall how my friends and I sacrificed our meagre 5,500 francs of monthly bursary to host visiting teams from Kigali for the first-ever proper match in Rwanda and travel to Mulindi for reciprocal games. 

However, time has flown since then. I am honoured to have overseen Rwanda attain ICC (International Cricket Council) affiliate status in 2003 and rise steadily through international ranks.

In 2004, our annual allocation from the ICC was $2,500 of which $1,000 was in kind and $1,500 in cash. Of the cash allocation we paid $1,000 as annual membership dues to Africa Cricket Association.

This position has improved significantly over the years and I am proud to have steered a very hardworking team that has seen our annual grant from the ICC raise to above $100,000. Kudos to the team.

We have grown from only 3 men’s clubs in 2000 to 12 today that play across 2 divisions. We have an extremely competitive women’s league comprising 6 teams – something many higher ranked nations only dream of.

We have cricket played in literally every province of Rwanda and the numbers have grown from 20 in 1999 to more than 10,000 cricketers today.

As I leave office I am sad and extremely overjoyed at the same time that I have left as “a not so needed man”. In 2004, I would play, umpire, take minutes at meetings, coach, run bank errands, etc.

Today there’s a fully-fledged office run by professionals headed by an amazing General Manager. There are permanent and paid coaches spread across the country who work tirelessly to spread the game.

As I pave way for a new team, I am glad to have left when significant infrastructure gaps are reducing. Our only main ground at Kicukiro has improved as every year goes by and this is fulfilling. The biggest adieu is that in the weeks ahead Rwanda will have its 1st international cricket ground at Gahanga and kudos to our partners at Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation.

We believe this will be the most beautiful cricket ground in Africa. In the months ahead, RCA should also complete works for a regional cricket ground for the Eastern Province in Kayonza. 

However, the journey hasn’t been entirely smooth. I have stumbled n fallen. I have been bruised and bruised some people. Scores of the cricket fraternity believe things could have been done in different ways.

But then again, please remember I am only human. Those I may have disappointed and hurt, I am sorry. Those that threw mud at me, I forgive you.

Moving forward, I have accepted to serve on the Advisory Board of RCA and hope that I will be of value whenever called upon as we strive to go by our slogan “growing with every step”.

Thanks once again to all those we travelled with and best of luck to the new team that assumes office.

President Kagame expresses gratitude to Haba during the Ntare School Rwanda fundraising dinner in 2015

 

Haba (c) and some of the pioneers 

Haba has inspired dozens of young Rwandans into the game

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