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article imageKenya's Maasai Warriors cricket team row over traditional attire

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By Anne Sewell     Mar 26, 2012 in Sports
Mombasa - The Maasai Warriors cricket team are involved in a row with their trainer. He wants them to wear the traditional cricket whites. They want to wear their traditional gear.
The Maasai Warriors team is currently preparing for the Last Man Stands Twenty20 Championship in Cape Town, South Africa.
For the last month they have been in the city of Mombasa, to raise money for their trip and to train at a cricket academy run by Steve Tikolo and other former Kenyan cricket stars.
The cricketers wish to promote AIDS awareness and to campaign against female genital mutilation on Maasai women. They are also campaigning against the early marriages being forced on Kenyan girls and to promote healthier lifestyles in Kenya.
IOL reports that the warriors have said on their website: “The team consists of 11 men (plus another 14 reserve) – each one striving to be a role model in his community. And his strategy to gain favour? Not by earning lots of money or through link-ups with supermodels or picking fights at night clubs, but by campaigning against traditional female circumcision (FGM), child marriages and HIV/Aids among tribal youth.”
And now, with their impending game in South Africa, they insist that they want to wear their traditional cricketing gear, which consists of sandals made from recycled tires, a traditional red "shuka" wrap around their bodies, beads and bracelets.
But their trainer, Steve Tikolo, wants them to wear cricket whites. While he is happy to "take the players under his wing", he is not so happy by their insistence on wearing their traditional Maasai outfits. "Cricket has its own rules that have to be followed," he told the BBC.
Tikolo also said: "I appreciate they want to sell the image of Kenya but they must play in the normal cricket uniform, and not their traditional attire."
However, South African Aliya Bauer, who established the Maasai Warriors in the Rift Valley Province 5 years ago, told the BBC: "It's not just a bunch of boys going to play cricket, they will also be promoting Kenya's image by playing in their traditional attire, adding some African flavour to the tournament.''
Bauer introduced the game to school children in the village of Il Polei 5 years ago. Apparently the now Maasai Warriers regularly passed through the village and took an interest in what was going on. Now they love the game and one Warrior apparently walks 16kms regularly to attend practice.
Now they just want a chance to shine and promote their country in the traditional Maasai outfits when playing in Cape Town.
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