Newly — Newly-established Burundi Cricket Federation (BCF) president John-Clinton Nsengiyumva has is looking to tap into the rich experience that neighbouring country Rwanda can offer so as to build the cricket sport in their territory as efficiently as they can.
Nsengiyumva heaped praise on Rwanda's progress in Cricket and pointed out that there are various areas his federation can join forces with their Rwandan counterparts as they hope to reach a higher level in the sport.
"We congratulate the Rwandan Cricket Association for their success so far. They are our neighboring brothers and sisters, so their success is ours to celebrate as well. Well done to Rwanda Cricket players and staff!" Nsengiyumva told Times Sport in an interview.
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"As per partnership between Cricket clubs in Burundi and Rwanda, it's always good and rewarding working together and learning from each other. I believe there are so many things we can learn from each other," he added.
"For starters, I would personally recommend friendly matches between Cricket Clubs. These friendlies can help clubs' staff and players to know each other, learn from each other and to ultimately create a relationship."
Development structure in one among many aspects that the Burundian Cricket governing body is interested in taking a leaf from Rwanda, especially in women's cricket which has been enjoying tremendous milestones worth picking from.
In January, Rwanda's Under 19 girls made history by beating ICC full members Zimbabwe and West Indies despite playing their inaugural ICC World Cup event in any format.
"In terms of Cricket development, we appreciate the progress that Rwanda Cricket has made especially in women Cricket. At Burundi Cricket, we are establishing feminine Cricket organs in provincial cricket associations so as to start a women Cricket league this year. This will boost the participation of female cricketers here and ultimately awaken the spirits of parents in a positive understanding towards feminine Cricket," Nsengiyumva said.
"Rwanda became the first country to introduce the Cricket game in the Great Lakes region. Now Burundi Cricket is following the country's footsteps and hopefully DR Congo will follow in launching a cricket body in their nation," he added.
As part of plans for the growth of the sport in Burundi, Nsengiyumva revealed that they have set up a five-year plan which his federation will go by to ensure that cricket reaches top level in the country.
During the next five years, Burundi aims to establish Cricket organs and leagues in all levels starting from U11 (division 7) Leagues at Zonal administrative levels to U19 (division 3) Leagues at provincial administrative levels.
At national level, the country will have a Division 2 League, a Division 1 League and a President's Cup League.
"Our five-year road map is very clear. We see ourselves at all levels and in every corner of the country. We want to develop Cricket in Burundi from a very young age and build strong routes for Cricket spirit to dwell in Burundian hearts," he noted.
"Most importantly, all these leagues will be for respectively male and female teams. We are promoting both male and female participation at the same level. Our cricket has to be all inclusive," he further said.
On a competitive perspective, the federation is this year launching a maiden U19 league for men in provincial cricket associations in April, a maiden U19 for women in December, and a National League in August.
BCF is now relying on its members' contributions since the government of Burundi doesn't yet have a funding program in place for sports federations.
However, Nsengiyumva is keeping his head held high regarding the future of the game.
After landing a landmark approval to conduct and carry on Cricket activities in Burundi by the government, the BCF has recently sent an application requesting to become an affiliate member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) after which the federation can start benefiting from the body's funds.
"We believe that it is possible. Cricket is in Burundi to stay. All we need right now is a supporting hand from the Africa Cricket Association and the International Cricket Council," he added.