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Essex Cricket Vatican tour team honoured at British Embassy

Emdad Rahman

AS PART OF THEIR ambassadorial duties the East London Multi-faith Cricket Team enjoyed a reception held in their honour at the British Embassy, Rome. It was attended by the Deputy Head of Mission, British Embassy, to the Holy See, Joanne Cappa-Gunduz MVO; Professor Lord Patel of Bradford; Father Sameer Advani; Father Eamonn O’ Higgins; and Fabio Marabini, President, Federazione Cricket Italiana. 

The pioneering cricket programme is a follow up to the Festival of Light Tour 2016, when St Peter’s CC, the Pope’s team from the Vatican, took part in a UK-wide tour. The Vatican made contact with Essex Cricket this summer and subsequently invited the team to visit the Vatican and play St Peter’s CC.

As a mark of appreciation, Newham Councillor Forhad Hussain and Jawar Ali of London Tigers, alongside Professor Lord Patel of Bradford, presented plaques to Joanne Cappa-Gunduz MVO and Fabio Marabini.

The second day of the tour will see the squad join Father Sameer Advani to partake in a special tour of St Peter’s and the Vatican Gardens before departing for Capanelle Cricket Ground, where the team will face their first opponents – Roma Capanelle CC – in a T20 clash.

Newham Councillor Mukesh Patel feels the day of activities was a great way for the team to bond. He said, “We are here to play cricket but we hope that the togetherness, high spirits and our contact with people of diverse backgrounds and faiths will prove to be an example for others to emulate. It’s a fantastic and unique initiative by Essex Cricket and I’m very pleased that we are using the game of cricket to promote peace and unity.”

The tour has received the backing of Prime Minister Theresa May, who said, “Championing the positive impact that sport can have on people’s lives is something about which we should remain passionate. We should never underestimate the community connections that sport encourages an” I am heartened that a shared love for cricket is bringing people of all faiths together in East London. I hope Essex Cricket enjoys the trip to the Vatican. I wish everyone involved the very best of luck.”

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The Tour Party
Professor Lord Patel of Bradford England & Wales Cricket Board
Director and Player
Forhad Hussain (Essex Cricket)
Director and Player
Robyn Hulley (Essex Cricket)
Tour Manager
Arfan Akram (East London Cricket Co-Coordinator)
Assistant Tour Manager & Tour Captain
Jawar Ali (Essex Cricket & Operations Director at London Tigers)

The Players
Emdad Rahman (Community Support and Scintilla Cricket Club)
Michael Arnold (East London Cricket Coach)
Simon Cooper (The Mayor of London’s Office)
Qam Farooq (Sales Manager at Ganador Sports)
Kashif Haroon (Councillor London Borough of Barking & Dagenham)
Shiraz Kothia (Community Leader in East London)
Vince Mulholland (Chairman Ilford Catholic Cricket Club)
Saba Nasim (Essex Women’s Cricket Ambassador & Coach)
Mukesh Patel (Councillor London Borough of Newham)
Kam Rai (Councillor London Borough of Redbridge)
Kanan Thiyagarajah (East London Cricket Coach & Barking Cricket Club)
Dominic Twomey (Councillor London Borough of Barking & Dagenham)

Officials
Annanth Kumar (Chairman Cavaliers Cricket Academy) – Umpire
Sheela Sethu (Secretary Cavaliers Cricket Academy) – Scorer

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