“I never thought I would ever be coaching 14 Kenyan Maasai Men in full Maasai dress.’


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When I started coaching cricket four years ago I had one aim – to make cricket more accessible for everybody. When I came up with this mantra, or what the England and Wales Cricket Board Coaching Association now call a ‘coaching philosophy’, what I had in mind was getting more females and people from less privileged backgrounds, opportunities to play cricket. What I did not have in mind or thought was that I would ever be coaching to 14 Kenyan Maasai Men in full Maasai dress.


The Maasai Cricket Warriors are, as their name suggests, a cricket team of Maasai Warriors. They are using cricket as a way of developing their community making sure that they keep the good bits of their culture, their Maasai dress being the obvious thing here, and eradicating the bad things about their culture, HIV, gender inequality, early female marriage and female genital mutilation – so that the tribe can continue to flourish. Their work with social development in their community is often highlighted as ground breaking. Think about it, this is a group of young men challenging hundreds of years of culture and tradition, where the elder man is the leader to be obeyed and the females are second class citizens. Last year’s film ‘Warriors’ sole focus was this, and brought Maasai Cricket Warrior’s work to a much wider audience globally

What has not been highlighted or recognised is how revolutionary the Maasai Cricket Warriors are with regards to their attitude to learning cricket, even more so when you think that tradition in their society is that men are the leaders are the one to be listened to, not the women. Yet the team were founded in 2009 when a female cricketer from South Africa, Aliyah Bauer, was in the area undertaking conservation work and decided to bring cricket to the region and taught the Maasai men in the area how to play. She then continued to be the team coach for a few years, developing their skills and making sure that they developed. It’s clear from talking to the older players in the team, who benefited from her coaching, of the respect they had for their first coach and how they took her approach to cricket to shape how they view the game.

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Having coached men in England about a similar age to the Maasai Cricket Warriors (18-29-ish), their approach and attitude towards having a female of a similar age coaching them is wholly different. Some have been great, enjoying the different insight into approaching the game – rather than the macho approach (or so I was told!) However, more often I have been asked if I was the girlfriend of a player, the tea lady or in a couple of instances the player has simply not engaged deferring to the male coach at all times. By contrast from the outset of coaching the Maasai there was none of this.

I was lucky to coach alongside with a fantastic ECB Tutor, whose experience in coaching not only developed the Maasai but also how I coach too. We had both spoken to some of the Maasai team prior to the session about their cricket; where they were at and what they wanted to achieve out of playing the game. The Maasai Cricket Warriors do not currently have a coach, although some of them are coaches who voluntarily bring cricket to local schools (local by Maasai standards on average each school is about 20-30km apart from each-other on broken roads and mud tracks). Through our discussion we were all clear and in agreement;  their mission to bring social development to their community was great, they looked awesome, but they needed to work on their cricket to make sure that they were known for being excellent cricketers too. The three things are not mutually exclusive, they work together. If Maasai cricket is strong, the team have the solid platform to continue to bring social change to their community through sport.

Post session, we debriefed about the practice; how it went, what they enjoyed, what they learnt and what they wanted to achieve in future. It was during these discussions that both I and the other coach understood how isolated the Maasai were in terms of support for their cricket development. One of them explained that having two qualified cricket coaches doing a 4 hour session with them was ‘a gift’. I can’t think of many cricketers in the UK who were coached for 4 hours solid in the middle of the heat of the Maasai a gift, but it was obvious they really appreciated the session. It was obvious they truly didn’t see it as an issue who coached them, just as long as learnt something about cricket.


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Through the work that the charity both I and the other coach volunteer for, Cricket Without Boundaries, we will continue to support their development as we make cricket more accessible to everyone no matter who or where you are in the world.

Jules Farman

Photos – Laura Daniels



Julia fARMANBio: Julia has one simple aim – to make cricket more accessible. She leant to play and coach cricket volunteering with Cricket Without Boundaries, a UK based sports charity delivering HIV/ AIDS awareness messages to counties in Africa using cricket coaching to educate. She has since qualified as a Level 2 cricket coach and coaches for Middlesex and Buckinghamshire County Cricket Boards – specialising in getting more females involved in the sport.



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