By Sports Reporter
RWANDA Cricket Association has backed Zimbabwean coach Leonard Nhamburo to turn around the fortunes of their women’s cricket team following his appointment as their new head coach on a two-year contract recently.
The 40-year-old mentor from Harare’s high-density suburb of Glen View takes over the hot seat from Ugandan Joshua Mwanja who has been at the helm since 2014 after the Cricket Association tasked him to focus on national Cricket development programmes.
Nhamburo’s first assignment will be to prepare the women cricket team for the annual Kwibuka tournament that takes place in June and the ICC Women World Cup qualifiers slated for November this year in Botswana.
Rwanda Cricket Association general manager Emma Byiringiro expressed confidence that Nhamburo would help in transforming their women’s side into a competitive side.
“In a bid to continue improving and be competitive on the international stage, the board and management of Rwanda Cricket Association thought it wise to hire a coach with experience and international repute with a proven track record in women cricket,” Byiringiro told Rwanda’s New Times newspaper in an interview.
“Leonard [Nhamburo] comes with proven experience having been in the Zimbabwean coaching structure for the past 20 years. The major reason that we hired him is to take the Women national team to the Global World Cup Qualifiers,” he said.
Moving up from school coaching in his hometown of Glen View, Nhamburo led the Zimbabwe U19s from 2014, then landed an assistant job with the Zimbabwe women’s team in 2016, before becoming interim head coach in 2017.
Neighbours Namibia head hunted him in 2018, where he guided them through regional qualifying to the 2019 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier. Most recently, Nhamburo led the Eagles franchise to victory in Zimbabwe’s domestic women’s T20 competition last December.
His move to Rwanda comes at a time when there has been a tremendous growth of women’s cricket over the past few years in the East African nation with the increase in the number of women clubs and also a lot of girls playing cricket in schools and communities.
In the past two years, Rwanda’s national women Cricket team has been able to play series with Nigeria and for the first time participated in the ICC women world cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe where they won twice and lost two games.
The team currently sits seventh in Africa and 32nd on the world rankings.