Cricket in The Gambia has over the years been dominated by men. Worse, women’s cricket has largely not been appealing to cricket fans in the country. But that is now changing thanks to the emergence of young cricketers like Haddy Wally.
Born in the Serekunda settlement of London Corner, Haddy’s love for cricket started at a very young age. Growing up, her parents supported and encouraged her to play cricket first for fun. But as she grew up, she took the game more seriously and started looking at it as a career. And her hard work and dedication paid.
At the age of 16, Haddy made her international debut for The Gambia in 2018 in an African Junior Cricket Championship game in Ghana. Half way into that game, she was informed that her mother had died.
“I received the news of my mother’s demise during the break of our game against Ghana. I felt devastated at that moment,” she recalls.
Despite the bad news and the devastation that followed, she went on to complete the game for the love of her country and cricket. Though The Gambia lost, Haddy was praised for her performance and strength.
“I had to force myself to play for The Gambia because they needed me at that time and so I gave everything I could.”
She pays tribute to her mother and the role she played in her cricket career. “She was always there for me. She was always my rock. She even gave me the money to process my travel documents to travel to Ghana for my first national game. She invested her money, her energy and everything else just for me to succeed. I pray that her soul rest in peace.”
Haddy is currently the captain and a left-hander of The Gambia National Women’s Cricket team and has been a stalwart of Gambia women’s cricket. She is often lauded for her aggressive stroke play at the start of the innings and her skill in deceiving the batswoman with her smart off-break bowling.
“Haddy Wally is constantly improving in the game. She has so much passion for cricket. She respects training rules and also adheres to coaches’ instructions,” says Prince David Johnson, the head coach of the national women’s cricket team.
Haddy is hopeful that women’s cricket will grow when the national association involves local communities. “Communities should be involved in cricket because most of the girls want to play cricket but they don’t know how to get into it. So I think it’s important for The Gambia Cricket Association to introduce the game to various communities in the country, targeting the women’’.
Haddy recently returned from Nigeria where she attended a week-long training on new cricket ground rules.