Japanese Coach Has Big Dreams For Senegal's Little League

Japanese coach has big dreams for Senegal's Little League

DAKAR, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 28th july,2016) - Ryoma Ogawa learnt baseball on the manicured pitches of his native Japan, but the young coach has hit a home run in Senegal with a ragtag team of kids, cultivating the arts of batting and fielding. Ogawa arrived in Senegal in January 2015, a baseball ambassador and former high school player volunteering on behalf of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, a development body. Five days a week he drags a faded purple sack full of jumbled second-hand gloves, balls and bats to a sandy patch of land in Ouakam, a neighbourhood to the north of the capital Dakar.

His young players show up to practise in plastic sandals and jeans, and clear rubbish from the ground before play can begin. "There was not a single kid playing baseball here. There was a desire to play, but before I arrived they looked at baseball like it was a really weird thing," Ogawa told AFP. There may be no bleachers, no jerseys, no helmets and not a blade of grass, but the atmosphere is convivial as the team develops the techniques of a sport that originated in the United States but has been played in Japan since the late 1800s. Ogawa's job isn't easy, especially with one significant barrier: "My French isn't very good, but I repeat things a lot and I use a lot of gestures," the 24-year-old admitted.