The old adage that ‘you learn something new everyday’ was certainly a fitting sentiment for me today as we embarked on our first day of coaching in Nakuru.
On a personal note, I learnt that my brother and I must look disturbingly alike after being mistaken for him seven times in one day, despite his last trip to Kenya being almost three years ago.
More importantly, today I learnt about the end products of CWB coaching. As we began our day, picking up the many CWB volunteers / ambassadors in Nakuru on our mini bus before arriving at Nakuru Day Secondary School, I was unaware that I was in the presence of not one, not two, but four people to have played for the Kenyan national team.
This was not only impressive due to the clear outstanding abilities of the many individuals around me, but also because of where these players began their careers. Our amazing ambassadors Nicholas and Peter aside (despite their illustrious careers for the Kenyan national team, including Peter’s appearance in the 2003 World Cup semi final), we met many coaches and players today, either in the midst of their careers for Kenya, or just approaching potential debuts for their national team.
The salience of this for me is where these players have come from. Many of these players started their cricketing careers many years ago due to an organisation called Cricket Without Boundaries (you may have heard of it?!). Two of our female coaches today, Mary and Daisy currently play for the women’s side but, began their careers in fields nearby today’s school.
Daisy is now the Kenyan Women’s captain, and Mary has played for the Kenyan side for nearly ten years.
Speaking to another of today’s coaches, Joseph, he described the importance of such sessions as today’s for Kenyan cricket. Out of the children we coached today, he said that almost twenty would progress to further coaching and potentially the national set up if they were lucky.
A prime example of this came in the form of Stephen. Stephen, who cast a shadow over most of our coaches today due to his enormous stature, is 18 and at the start of his national career as he hopes to debut for Kenya in the coming months. Stephen also began his career in a CWB session when he was just ten years old.
This impact, that CWB has had upon the Kenyan national team (as I’m sure it has had upon the various other countries we, as a charity, visit) was not one that I had particularly realised heading into this trip. However, I think the beauty of this charity, is not only the spread of HIV awareness but the ability it has to bring communities together and the happiness it imparts upon certain individuals within the countries we visit.
Not only has it helped produce cricketers for Kenya, but also coaches for CWB itself. To mention a few: Mathias, who now coaches 18 schools in Murang’a after discovering cricket on YouTube and tracking down CWB when they visited Kenya years ago, Freddie who began in a CWB session and has helped us over the last few days as a coach in Murang’a and George who is currently a coach for CWB many years after being introduced to the sport in yet another CWB session.
Knowing before the trip that the overriding message that the charity delivers is that of HIV prevention and awareness, I had never thought of the impact it has upon the individuals years down the line in a cricketing perspective. And so, having met so many great individuals and coaches in our last few days who were integrated into cricket through a CWB session, I would definitely say that the lesson I learnt today was of the impact cricket can have on an individual’s life many years on from just a simple introductory session and the influence of CWB upon Kenyan cricket.
written by Josh Malkani