Dipanakar SenGupta from the MCF discusses the rise in popularity of cricket in Mozambique.

How popular is cricket in your country?
Mozambique had no cricket tradition during the Portuguese colonial period and there after. But since 2002, after the formation of the MCA (Mozambican Cricket Federation), cricket has become more popular. Cricket now comes under the national sports council program and has been officially introduced by Directorate of School Sports, Ministry of Education and Culture in the sports curriculum of schools.

What are your priorities in promoting and developing cricket as a game in your country?
Our main priority of promoting the game lies with the introduction and development of cricket through Mozambican Schools.

How much schools cricket is available in your country to aid the future development of players?
Our development program is run with Mozambican Schools, starting from grass-roots, through to U13/U15/U17 and U19. We have an autonomous body under the MCA called the NCSC - National Commission for School Cricket, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, to develop schools cricket. All executive members of the NCSC are sports officials of Directorate of School sports, Ministry of Education & Culture.

As a result of our development program, for the ICC World Cricket League Division 5 the Mozambique senior team will field for the first time two players from our NCSC Development team. At present we have introduced cricket in 23 Mozambican government schools, where 99 % students are indigenous Mozambican.

How are your preparations for the ICC World Cricket League Division 5 progressing?
We have started our preparation since 3 March 2008 under the able guidance of South African Level IV coach Mr. Ismail Hassan 'Baboo' and a locally appointed physical trainer. There have been two periods of training, one in the early morning and another in the evening, six days a week including preparation games at the weekend and in holidays.

What are your expectations for the event and how far do you think you will be able to progress through the World Cricket League structure?
We expect a very good ranking in this event and also expect to go much higher in World Cricket League structure.