Musakwa's undying passion for cricket

HARARE - Being a cricket coach or administrator requires one to have passion for the game and if your intention is to gain monetary rewards then you are in the wrong profession.

Walter Musakwa, the Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) development coach, is one person, who has dedicated his time to help fledgling cricketers realise their dream of growing up to become professional athletes.

A lack of resources in local cricket grassroots structures is well documented and Musakwa together with his fellow development coaches across the country have had to dig deep into their own pockets to finance some of their programs.

Most of the ZC development coaches have had to endure long periods without receiving their salaries - that’s a story for another day.

But Musakwa, however, has not allowed the limited resources stop him from doing what he loves, coaching and mentoring young cricketers from the poor communities from in and around the Chitungwiza area.

Last weekend, Muskwa teamed up with Malcolm Chikuwa, coach and teacher at St Aidens Primary School, to host the Ghetto Blasters Cricket Festival for primary school children across three venues in Chitungwiza.

The two-day tournament was held at St Aidens, Tanganhamo Primary and Zengeza 4 Primary schools.

St Aidens walked away with the first prize, a full cricket kit comprising of a bats, batting gloves, wicket-keeping pads, gloves, boxes and batting pads.

The tournament saw eight schools taking part after paying a $55 registration fee and in total the organiser grossed $440.

All the money collected for as registration fees was used to purchase the cricket equipment presented as prizes at the end of the tournament.

The organisers had to dig into their own resources to provide funding for other necessities required for the tournament.

“The main reason of holding this tournament was to provide a proper platform for competitive cricket where the kids would walk away with at least some respectable prizes,” Musakwa told the Daily News on Sunday.

“Passion is the hallmark for success in cricket and they have done well so far by playing in their leagues where they only get certificates of merit at the end of each season.

“We wanted however, to go a step higher by developing a concept where the players can compete for valuable cricket prizes which they would then use to better their careers.”

On average a cricket bat costs $40, batting pads $30 figures Musakwa said were a bit steep for the children coming from these disadvantaged areas.

“Some schools that can afford to buy their own cricket equipment but it is very difficult for the individual players to get such amounts from their parents or guardians because it’s even more than the average school fees they pay,” he said.

“We at least did our part in a small way and we believe ZC should do the rest by ensuring that all schools are furnished with proper cricket equipment that can last a distance.

“It used to happen not so long ago and I’m sure the authorities can look into the issue for the betterment of the game nationwide.”

The 36-year-old, who was coaching Churchill Boys High’s first team last year, bemoaned the lack of opportunities afforded cricketers from the Chitungwiza area.

“Most of the players from Chitungwiza feed into the only club we have here, Royal but they are lost along the way when it comes to franchise cricket, hardly any recognition is given to them,” he said.

“Ngoni Mupamba, is one of the most talented batsmen to emerge from the Mashonaland Franchise but he ended up landing a coaching role because he was always relegated to the B side.

“They (ZC) should be non-selective and select players on merit at all levels.”

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