Young cricket players from Rocklands in Bloemfontein took on the team from Grey College at the CASA Field at Grey College as part of an initiative by Cricket South Africa (CSA) to develop and maintain effective cricketing structures from grassroots level right through to senior cricket.
CSA has formed cricket hubs and regional performance centres in all 9 provinces in the country as part of this initiative.
A hub has been established in Rocklands, with the ultimate focus on providing schools that are taking part with access to facilities in an effort to broaden the game of cricket among black communities and to develop quality black African cricketers while supporting the Cricket SA transformation agenda.
Pena Motsoane, the Rocklands Hub coach, says that his work entails scouting for talent from various township schools in hopes of nurturing and developing that talent. “It begins with providing them with a safe place where they can express their talents. We help them with a place to practise as well as the right equipment, and this is also part of rehabilitating them, showing the young players that just because they come from disadvantaged backgrounds doesn’t mean they cannot succeed,” Motsoane says.
Director of cricket at Grey College, Adri Swanepoel, says they are more than happy to grab the opportunity to get out on the field and just play a game of cricket. “It’s also nice for them to showcase their talents and to see how good they are compared to the Rocklands side. Because I’m telling you, there are some really good players in the Rocklands side, they are a very competitive side, so this is a good opportunity to compare with other teams,” Swanepoel says.
Cricket Services Manager at CSA, Edward Khoza, says that since bringing on Momentum as sponsors, they are now also helping to bring the players’ parents to their games in the hope of getting them more interested in what their children are doing. Khoza says the players are even more motivated when their parents can offer them support.
He says the initiative does not stop at providing the players with equipment and coaching, but it extends to academic growth. “We want to make sure that we give every player in our country an opportunity to play cricket, and those who progress can go play for the Proteas. But there are also programmes where we give bursaries to the guys who attend the regional schools as well as universities. We are trying to make sure that when a player doesn’t get to the top level, he can exit the game meaningfully, having been exposed to the various levels of cricket.”
The initiative also makes players aware of the importance of having an education as a back-up plan for their sport careers. – Seithati Semenokane