Aberdeen meets Cameroon!
With the country preparing for a Commonwealth Games fever to capture the sporting public’s imagination it is, of course, a shame that cricket – possibly the most widely played of sports in the Commonwealth – is missing from celebration of sporting links fostered several generations ago!
However, you don’t have to scratch the surface too hard to find enthusiastic cricketers and cricket fans involved at this year’s Glasgow games.
One such individual is Victor Agbor-Nso (pictured with North Club Development Manager, Neil Cameron) the Chef de Mission for the Cameroon Commonwealth Games delegation and squad. Victor is also the Founding President of the Cameroon Cricket Federation (as well as being Vice President of the Cameroon National Olympic& Sports Committee) and both a force of nature and a self-confessed cricket nut!
The Cameroon Commonwealth Games squad’s training base prior to the games is Robert Gordon’s University in Aberdeen.
RGU hosted a meeting for Victor with Neil Cameron and Aberdeen Grades and Strathmore & Perthshire CU representatives Tariq Butt and Paul Gray mainly so that Victor could chat with fellow cricketing fanatics but with a view to establishing cricketing links between Aberdeen and Cameroon.
Victor takes up the story, ‘we were all delighted to be given the opportunity to be based in such an excellent sporting facility but I honestly couldn’t believe my luck when I discovered that cricket, my first love, was such a big sport in Aberdeen. I simply had to find out more.’
Cameroon is one of cricket’s newest Affiliate nations; in 2012 Cameroon competed in Division 3 (Africa) of the ICC World League, uniquely all of the players were indigenous Cameroonians.
Interest in the game in another football mad country is blossoming. Cricket appears to be a huge hit in schools with and there is also a burgeoning girls programme. Senior league matches are played principally in the dry season (August/November & December) CCF league & cup comprises 8 teams.
The CCF is also ambitious to develop further and establish the sport as a national one in Cameroon. Land has been bought to develop a national stadium, HQ and Academy and the country’s first grass square!
Victor is an ambassador in so many different ways for his country and his sport. The CCF, one of the world-wide cricket family’s least wealthy members has a constant battle to provide equipment for the growing membership and interest in its clubs. Whilst most of the junior equipment is hand-made from recycled materials and the balls used are traditional tape balls some junior equipment is made available through ICC Africa.
Neil Cameron takes up the story, ‘I would be delighted to help Victor and the CCF in any small way that I can; I couldn’t help be impressed by his enthusiasm and commitment for cricket. The CCF is really reaching out for support and friendship but also any spare cricket equipment and financial support that can be mustered. I will make myself available as a contact (07794 303332 or firstname.lastname@example.org) for anyone that would like to recycle their old bats, pads, gloves, wicket-keeping gear etc. All items will be gratefully received and go some way to supporting the growth of cricket in Cameroon.’
Some facts about CCF:
- Cricket is run by the Cameroon Cricket Federation and is based in the capital, Yaoundé.
- Cameroon Cricket Federation is a fairly young governing body, having been set up by Victor Agbor-Nso in 2005.
- Cameroon became an affiliate member of the ICC in 2007.
- The Federation has a growing ‘Cricket At School’ programme along with a development programme which includes organising
- Inter-school Cricket Tournaments,
- Coaching Courses,
- Cricket Festivals,
- Street Children Cricket Outreach Programmes,
- There are approximately 100 senior men involved in the 8-team league and cup tournaments
- All matches are played on matting
- Annually 42 schools take part in the annual schools programme which culminates over Christmas
- Schools play softball (mostly tape ball)