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The lack of a standard oval is the biggest issue facing the growth of the game. The only cricket oval in the country is at Kingtom and it is just bare pitch with no provisions for the game. On top of everything it is owned by the Sierra Leone Police whose personnel use the ground for several other activities including pa- rades and sport meets. Youths around the community also use it to play football.


(left) SLCA board Chairman…Bournce Coker & CEO Francis Samura…more need to be done


The deplorable state of the ground makes it unworthy of international standards. The cricket association uses it for test trials and as a train- ing ground for its national teams in preparation for competitions; and schools also use it for others types of competitions. Because of the lack of a proper facility the International Cricket Council ICC has banned the oval from being used to host any international matches, something which has denied the exposure needed for the game to grow in the country.


The problems are numerous and one of the worst situations came when an attempt by the former executive of the Sierra Leone Cricket Association tried to grass the Kingtom oval with funds from the ICC but that effort was suspended after a big misunderstanding between SLCA and the police force that use the grounds for their regular official functions.


However, both the former Bournes-Coker -led executive and the board executive council now led by a Chief Executive Officer CEO, a former cricketer, Francis Samura, have engaged the government to try and solve the problem of getting a better oval for the sport.


Since there has been a lack of a standard playground for the sport, the development of the game has been hindered and, CEO Samura has attributed the national cricket team’s miserable perform- ance in the just concluded T20 ICC-Africa Division II World Cup qualifiers in South Africa to the lack of or rather poor oval condition that they use in the country.


The team secured a single victory against Swaziland out of seven matches which saw them finish at the bottom of the table and could have been relegated to the Division III ranks but thanks to the ICC which says no team should be relegated because of the tournament’s standard in that nation. “The time is right for us to get an improved oval if only we want to challenge the East and Southern African countries at the highest level,” Samura said.


Before the team’s departure to South Africa, Samura revealed that the SLCA was able to acquire a 68


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