Although cricket is a low-profile sport on the local scene, the country’s male and female cricketers have punched above their weight in recent years, as far as success in the gentlemanly game is concerned.
For instance, the national women’s Under-19 team outstandingly won the African championship last year, even though other countries on the continent can boast of arguably better structures for women’s youth cricket.
In addition, despite the sport’s modest popularity in the country, which admittedly is changing, a few local male cricketers have bolstered our standing in world cricket by going on to ply their trade abroad.
All this sounds pretty impressive, doesn’t it? Well, then, it might greatly disappoint you to learn that cricket suffers from a lack of sponsorship, which could potentially negatively affect the sport’s prospects for success.
This was revealed earlier this week by the skipper of the national men’s cricket team, Hamis Abdallah, who bitterly complained that corporate sponsors are blindly gravitating towards local football to support the beautiful game.
The really tragic thing though, about Abdallah’s lamentations is that similar complaints could well be made by stakeholders of other sports in the domestic sporting arena.
After all, it is an ill-kept secret that football receives the largest chunk of corporate funds that are allocated to further sports development.
This unpalatable status quo must be infinitely demoralizing for stakeholders of other sports, including cricket on the local scene, who are left to make do with the measly crumbs that remain once football has gotten a disproportionate share of corporate funds.
The ironical fact about all this staring us in the face is that local football has miserably failed to produce the goods internationally, time and time again. In contrast, sports such as golf and cricket as we have seen here have fared much better, achieving feats that football can only dream of.
So, what can be done to solve this problem that looms large over our local sporting landscape?
One solution would work like a charm and that is for corporate sponsors to demonstrate greater vision and passion to see that all sports, not just football, do well.
Lloyd Elipokea is a sports