CRICKET SOUTH AFRICA (CSA), Momentum and the Border Cricket Board today announced the next phase of the Joint Venture (JV) Rural Academy Project at the University of Fort Hare that will see CSA partner, Momentum, investing significantly during the 2014/15 season.
“This is another very happy and uplifting chapter in Momentum’s relationship with grassroots cricket development. We remain grateful to Momentum for their commitment to this important project,” commented CSA Chief Executive, Haroon Lorgat.
“The main objective of the JV Rural Academy Programme is to advance black rural cricketers through a well-organized set-up that can contribute meaningfully to the CSA development pipeline. The programme also affords us the opportunity to groom Coaches, Match Officials and Ground staff,” he added.
“It hardly needs reminding that some of the best talents to have represented the Proteas, like Makhaya Ntini, Mfuneko Ngam, Lance Klusener and Dale Steyn were products of rural development and they represent only the tip of what is an enormous pool of talent in our country.”
CSA Development Consultant, Greg Hayes, explained how the JV project works. “It is split into two sections, the first of which is the junior programme, which concentrates on talent identification of schoolboys and girls from the under-9 right up to under-19 age groups in the rural areas of Middeldrift, Alice, Healdtown and Fort Beaufort. This is done under the supervision of the Fort Hare, CSA and Border Cricket officials in order to ensure transparency and uniformity.
“The Junior Academy players are selected from the CSA Hubs / RPC programmes conducted within the various Rural Areas.
“Once these young cricketers have been identified they will be placed in traditional cricket playing schools such as Dale and Queen’s College that offer excellent facilities and playing opportunities at the highest schools level.
“The second part of this programme then sees these youngsters fed back into the JV Senior Academy Programme. They get the chance to improve their cricketing skills and at the same time are provided with an opportunity to study after leaving school. This programme also includes team building initiatives, Life Skills programmes, and Fitness and Nutrition programmes with each cricketer put on a specific fitness programme. They also benefit from specialist coaching and training sessions.
“The end result is to feed these cricketers through to the first-class level, first at semi-professional level, and then with the franchises, with some of them going on to represent the Proteas at full international level. At the same time they are achieving academic qualifications that will sustain their careers once their playing days are over.”
Danie van den Bergh, head Brand, Momentum said, “Our purpose in partnering with CSA is to contribute to the unity and upliftment of our nation through sports development initiatives, and especially those that include, for both boys and girls, a quality education component. Our legacy can be the promise of opportunity for those with the talent and determination to rise above their circumstances. In the industry of growing the financial wellness of all South Africans, data has shown that the most significant contributor to success is education. Developing long-term skills, producing excellent sportspeople, and facilitating quality education are all sustainable vehicles of positive change and Momentum is very proud to be able to contribute to these goals.”
Fort Hare Head Coach, Mfuneko Ngam, reflected on the success of the programme to date. “Since the JV Senior Cricket Academy’s inception five years ago, there have been 13 male cricketers who have come through the Academy who are presently playing Semi-Professional Provincial cricket for the various CSA Affiliates; two female cricketers in the Momentum Proteas Women’s Set-up and eight students who successfully completed their degrees or diplomas.
“Recently, one of our final year students, Somila Seyibokwe, made his Franchise debut for the Warriors and Ayabonga Khaka is currently in the women’s Protea squad on tour in India.
“In addition, the current Strength and Conditioning specialist at Fort Hare University, NandileTyali, is a product of the programme.”