REPUBLIC OF MOZAMBIQUE
Area: total: 801,590 sq km
land: 784,090 sq km
water: 17,500 sq km
Population: 19.420.036 (July’2007 estimate)
Catholic 23.8%, Muslim 17.8%, Zionist Christian 17.5%, other 17.8%, none 23.1%.
Official Language - Portuguese
Membership of International Organizations
ACP, AfDB, AU, C, CPLP, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MONUC, NAM, OIC, OIF (observer), OPCW, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNMIS, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO.
Aluminum, Prawns, Cashews, Cotton, Sugar, Citrus, Timber; Bulk Electricity.
Machinery and Equipment, Vehicles, Fuel, Chemicals, Metal Products, Foodstuffs, Textiles.
“Quando o Deus fecha as portas, sempre deixa uma Janela aberta” – a Portuguese proverb, it says, When God closes all doors, always keep a window open.
Probably Mozambican Cricket entry, there after a certain popularity and success were the fruit of blessing of God, with sincere dedication of cricket lovers who entered through tiny window in a country where since the arrival of Portuguese explorer in the year 1498 and until their official departure in 1975, Portuguese administration never encouraged the beautiful sport called CRICKET in Mozambique, and till today when not even 1% population understand English but children play cricket and proved that Cricket is for life-long enjoyment and can not be stopped due to linguistic bar or so called traditional absence in the essence of a real Global sport. Thank you God for leaving the window open.
Geography is always a powerful indicator of sports culture and obviously who can ignore in Africa especially in the Sub-Saharan region the game of cricket always had quite a high rate of popularity and as Mozambique is surrounded by some of the biggest Cricket playing nations in Africa namely South Africa and Zimbabwe, it could not ignore the influence of this game in the country.
Portuguese speakingMozambique, probably the only sub-Saharan country where due to colonial tradition, Cricket was, though played but never was an established game. Soccer oriented Mozambique, sometime saw Cricket is played in a very limited and casual way by immigrants and foreign residents from southern Asia, UK and South Africa and Zimbabwe in Southern and Central Mozambique, being influenced by South Africa and Zimbabwe which are making frontier in those parts of Mozambique.
After the Independence of our country in 1975, a huge number of Portuguese nationals from all level of society left the country within the span of ten years and the vacuum of human resources was gradually filled up by many expatriates from all over the world and many of them were from typically & traditionally of cricket playing countries, namely, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Great Britain and Australia and the cricket had started being played more frequently from the early 90’s with the support of some international organizations and diplomatic representations in our Country, such as UNDP, High Commission of the United Kingdom and High Commission of the South Africa who were the main sponsors of an annual softball cricket tournament launched by the then British owned Hotel Cardoso management where various teams, basically made under country of origin identification started taking part.
But with a surprise stroke in political history of Mozambique, intensity of cricket involvement baptized through an interesting situation, i.e. on 4th of October 1992 the then mono-party system Mozambican Government led by FRELIMO signed the peace treaty with the then rebel party RENAMO and United Nation organization backed ONUMOZ - “United Nation Operation in Mozambique” was established to help implement the General Peace Agreement, signed by the President of the Republic of Mozambique and the President of the Resistência Nacional Moçambicana. The mandate included facilitating the implementation of the Agreement; monitoring the ceasefire; monitoring the withdrawal of foreign forces and providing security in the transport corridors; providing technical assistance and monitoring the first multi-party electoral process.
From December 1992 ONUMOZ activity started with arrival of around 6500 UN personnel including a huge number of military and civil personnel from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and with the help of resident cricket lovers, in almost every month, somewhere, in some open spaces and whatever form it may be “Cricket festival” started to show-up, drawing hundreds of local kids and adults as spectators.
The curious part is – players and participants were mostly conducted the game and communicated in English language where as volunteer spectators mainly poor local native children and adults without the knowledge of a single word in English or cricket laws and rules, equally clapped and shouted when somebody made a big hit or bowlers /fielders dancing when somebody is out. It continued for 4 years and probably this was the real occasion in Mozambican Cricket history when local natives came into direct touch of Cricket as a game for the first time.
And then seeing the cricket enthusiasm, in 1995 Indian High Commission took initiative in collaboration of local cricket lovers, an annual cricket tournament known as India Independent Cup, inviting people from different embassies/high commissions and other NGOs to participate.
However it always remained a sport of privileged and limited class, without any access to general population as had been occasionally organized by above mention entities and players, were also from those communities or connected to the same. Until Mozambican Cricket Association was formed.
Having been noticed that the enthusiasm for the game of the cricket was increasing year after year, a group of cricket enthusiastic namely Mr. Rakesh Jain, Mr. Rajesh Tekriwal, Ms. Ema Fernandes, Mr. D. Roy, Mr. Carlos Muiambo, Mr. Taquidir Bacar, Mr. Roopak Bhadra etc., backed by main sponsorship of Debala Shipping Lda., and under the appropriate leadership of Mr. Dipankar Sengupta, simultaneously enjoyed the profound supported by British educated the then Governor of Maputo Province Dr. Alfredo Namitete, and the then National Director of Ministry of Justice Dr. Angela Melo, invited Mr. Hoosain Ayob the then Regional Development Manager of ICC Africa. After various preliminary compliances and contacts with ICC development management, ICC Regional Development Manager Hoosain Ayob visited the country in 1999 and 2000 to guide Mozambique cricket into an organization under ICC Cricket Development Programme guidelines as well as to audit the compliances of all criteria for the membership of ICC.
In the year 2000 an ad-hoc Cricket body was formed and the process was placed with pertinent authorities of Government of Mozambique, with the intention of creation in Mozambique a National Cricket body, properly recognized by the Government of Mozambique and international cricket authority ICC, denominated as Mozambican Cricket Association.
The Mozambican Cricket Association was constitutionally and officially formed and duly recognized by the Mozambique Government in 2001 as an exclusive and official National Cricket Body of Republic of Mozambique. The inauguration launching Ceremony was held in Maputo, on 09th of March of 2002 with presence of top national and foreign dignitaries, particularly the worthy presence of His Excellency Minister of the Youth and Sports, Regional Development Manager of ICC Africa, members of the Diplomatic corps among other guests as well as were present in full strength national media.
In July 2003 at ICC annual conference at Lords in London, Mozambican Cricket Association was unanimously elected as an Affiliate member of ICC and in the subsequent year Mozambican Cricket Association was honoured with the membership of Africa Cricket Association, the Regional Cricket Body of Africa continent.
Besides to organize and to regulate tournaments of cricket, the main objective of this association is promoting, developing and influencing the cricket in all his forms, either the "soft - ball" or "hardball", in schools and clubs, in most of the provinces of Mozambique in proper course.
On this aspect we have the collaboration of some spheres of the society and government institutions, specially the Ministry of the Youth and Sports, Ministry of the Education, Sponsors, Clubs and Cricket lovers and obviously of the ACA and ICC, which have been tireless in supporting in all aspect so that this game avenges its objectives and grows proportionately in a Country like ours of little popular tradition of same.
Though this game was not totally unknown in Mozambique but soccer is the main popular game among youngsters. Keeping in mind that trend, this Association in collaboration of Ministry of Education formed National Commission for School Cricket in 2004 with an exclusive objective i.e. “catch them young” and slowly started introducing in different schools with a series of grass root development programs among School teachers and students as well as creating conditions and motivation to develop and popularize this game among seniors through clubs, tournaments, umpiring courses, coaching courses and tours.
At present scenarios we are content of our achievement so far but our hopes are well hugged by our ambition which believes in “Never say never again as enough is never enough...” We are growing.............