SA cricket legends focus on developing raw talent

Cricket

SA cricket legends Allan Donald, Brett Schultz and Meyrick Pringle will attend coaching clinics for new and developing talent at this week’s Sasfin Cape Town Cricket Sixes.

The event, now in its fourth year, introduced its social responsibility initiative, Hit Poverty For A Six, in 2016. “The initial aim was to bring previously disadvantaged young players to the festival for coaching and net sessions and provide transport, food and beverages. In addition, an allocation was made for two development teams in every league to be sponsored so they could join the competition. The winners of last year’s social league, The Breva Team, hailing mostly from Khayelitsha, have now been promoted to the main Castle Lager League this year, and are expected to be one of the favourites,” explains Ryan Christian, the organisation’s founder.

“Every year the talent of the township players has been inspirational. These kids just need to be given opportunities that we are providing to reveal their potential and experience the thrill of succeeding on a larger stage,” he adds.

Explains Donald, “The first thing that struck me was how this event got the kids and community involved. The interaction was amazing. We noticed one kid for example last year, Lucky, from Masiphumelele, who had a beautiful and seemingly natural away swinger – we hope he will continue to develop and be given the right support and coaching. He and others had a similar look to the likes of Lundi Ngini or Rabada – the potential in the Western Cape overflows – these kids just need the facilities and opportunities.”

Donald continues, “I always say, you never know how good you are until you discover what your talent is. For youngsters out there, the message I have for you is that, ‘It’s not about how good you are, it’s about how good you want to be’.”

Held over three days, from 22nd to 24th February at the Greenpoint Cricket Club, the Sasfin Cricket Sixes is Africa’s largest amateur cricket festival and will host a development league, Corporate VIP Cup, two women’s leagues, a Fives Futbol tournament, and on the final day, a testimonial match between Laureus Legends of Sport versus SA Cricket Legends.

The main beneficiary of the event is the MCC Masi 750 Sports Club, run by Vince van der Bijl, a former SA cricketer who leads the project within the Masiphumelele community near Noordhoek, with a vision to uplift the youth through sport and life-skills training.

The project began in August 2017 when the Ukhanyo primary School had one coach and PT instructor, Nceba Jonas, in a school of 1860 learners. At the time each pupil received just one PT lesson every week. The facilities were one netball court and short sprint track and an open unusable veldt area.

“Ukhanyo Primary School in 2019 has 2000 learners from grade one to seven. The school now has an organized sports programme which gives the youth the excitement they seek, empowers them, encourages a sense of community in the township, and importantly increases self-esteem. I challenge any person to witness first hand this school in this poor but vibrant community and not be uplifted and inspired by these kids of infinite potential. These young boys and girls radiate the hope for this country. They inspire me daily,” van der Bijl says.

Sasfin Wealth CEO, Erol Zeki, “An amazing family day out, this event brings together some of the greatest names in SA sport.  Sasfin provides this unique environment which assists in the development of these young players, who are so full of potential. This weekend is testament to what’s possible with some funding and committed individuals wanting to make a difference. Our purpose in being involved is to help build rising talent, and, with initiatives like this, to shift good ideas into reality.”

Visit www.capetownsixes.com for more information and to book tickets.

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