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Mini-cricket inspires youngsters to dream big

"If I don’t make it as a player, I can opt to become a coach, umpire, scorer or administrator.”

Lesedi Skosana said the KFC mini-cricket programme will provide her with a solid foundation to learn the basics of cricket, which will help her realise their dream of playing for the Momentum Proteas.

The youngster braved the gloomy weather and joined hundreds of others during the KFC mini-cricket provincial festival at Willowmoore Park on April 12.

Skosana, a Grade Seven learner at Dan Pharasi Primary School in Etwatwa, hailed the programme as a game changer, saying it creates many opportunities for those who want to pursue a cricket career.

Learners from CBC Boksburg give the festival a thumbs up.

“I love cricket, and mini-cricket is important because it creates opportunities for us. If I don’t make it as a player, I can opt to become a coach, umpire, scorer or administrator,” she said.

She became part of her school’s mini-cricket programme in 2022 and has never looked back.

“I want to play for the Proteas and appear on TV and in newspapers like all the professionals. I wish my parents were here to see how important cricket is to me.”

Eastern Storm batsman Nhlanhla Mashigo is a graduate of mini-cricket.

Learners from several Ekurhuleni schools attended the festival, where they learnt the basics of cricket, like batting, bowling and fielding, as well as crucial skills such as hand and eye coordination.

Well-oiled machine

Among those in attendance were the Eastern Storm players and hierarchy, including coach Geoffrey Toyana and Eastern Cricket Union CEO Wesley Coulentianos, who are graduates of the mini-cricket programme.

Speaking about his mini-cricket experience, Eastern Storm batsman Nhlanhla Mashigo explained the programme cemented his love for the sport.

Eastern Storm coach and mini-cricket graduate Geoffrey Toyana.

“Most of us started here. I literally played cricket with my mates every day because of the mini-cricket. I learnt the basics of the game, which were helpful when I graduated in hardball cricket,” said Mashego.

The right-hander was in the system for two years and in 2012 promoted to the Kwa-Thema Cricket Club U12 team, where he honed his skills until he received a call-up to the Easterns age-group teams.

“Whatever you do, don’t stop once you start. Keep going. There will be challenges, ups and downs, but in cricket, like any sport, failure happens more than success. Have a big heart and develop a thick skin. Cheer for those who succeed. Don’t be envious but keep working hard and learn from them,” he said.

Eastern Cricket Union CEO Wesley Coulentianos.

Cricket SA (CSA) mass participation manager Buhle Vaphi said it was their responsibility to ensure the players in mini-cricket are well-equipped to be ready when they graduate to hardball cricket.

She thanked KFC for making a difference at the grassroots level, ‘where it matters the most’.

“Mini-cricket is a well-oiled machine. It was encouraging to see seven players who started in the programme play for South Africa in the ICC women’s U19 T20 World Cup last year. It shows the work done here is not in vain. We are contributing towards the pipeline of cricket,” she said.

She said the programme is important for CSA because they instil the love of the game from a young age.

Also Read: KFC Mini-cricket programme continues to be impactful

Also Read: CSA urged to take mini-cricket programme seriously

   

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