WHEN Emmanuel Sebareme plays an away match and stays in a hotel he cannot believe how his life has been transformed in such a space of time. The 19-year-old Western Province off-spinner left the war-torn nation of Rwanda only a few years ago with his parents on foot to seek a better living here in South Africa.
“We basically walked all the way from Rwanda. There were nights when it was very cold. I remember us leaving many things along the way because the journey was very long and we needed to travel light. We couldn’t carry many things with us,” Sebareme said. “When I stay in a hotel now for cricket I lie there and look up at the ceiling and thank the almighty for giving me the talent to play this great game. Without cricket I don’t know where I would be.”
With cricket not being a traditional sport in Rwanda, Sebareme was first introduced to the “gentleman’s game” on the streets of Steenberg on the Cape Flats where he started playing with a tennis ball. He later joined the Peninsula CC, but immediately realised there was something different with the game at the next level.
“It is actually a funny story. My friends and I played with a tennis ball in the road. But when I got to club cricket, the guys played with a red leather ball and it was quite hard,” he chuckled. “But it is here where I changed from bowling medium-fast to bowling spin. In fact, it wasn’t really spin; I just bowled slower and from a shorter run-up. The ball just happened to turn, and turn a lot in fact, and it is from here that people started noticing me and I got selected for the Western Province U-19 team that played in the Coca-Cola Khaya Majola Week last year.”
Sebareme’s star was now certainly on the rise and his performances were so impressive during the Week that he gained selection to the SA Schools XI. He had also caught the eye of the senior selectors at Newlands and earned a couple of caps for the Western Province semi-professional team, claiming a credible 2/25 on debut against Griqualand West at Newlands and the next step for the University of Western Cape economics student is the upcoming Africa T20 Cup.
“I can’t wait to play in the Africa T20 Cup. It is the biggest tournament of my career. I have been working really hard with our coach, Faiek Davids, during the winter. I am actually quite nervous because I am going to play against some Proteas, but the coach has worked on calming me down and giving me good game plans to execute,” said Sebareme.