It’s only been one week, but Anton Ferreira is already revelling in his new role as director of cricket at King Edward VII School and looks forward to adding value to one of South Africa’s long-standing and consistent cricket nurseries, writes THEO GARRUN.
SACricketmag.com was at the school to watch the KES vs Jeppe game on Saturday and, when it was called off because of the weather, we took advantage of the situation to chat to Ferreira about this late career change.
When he turned 63 in April this year, Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) HR policy mandated that he had to step down as manager: coaches education, although there was an understanding that he would continue with some of his initiatives, particularly in the area of coaching development in the rest of Africa.
‘I knew it was going to happen,’ he said, ‘and CSA had done its succession planning by bringing in Gift Mathe to work with us a year earlier. He has taken over now and the department is in good hands.’
Ferreira had time on his hands and Niels Momberg (CSA manager: youth cricket), who is on the governing body at KES, approached him with the idea of taking up a role at the school.
The first-team coach had left and the school decided to appoint two full-time teachers, Pieter van Rooyen and Arthur da Mata, to coach the team and look for a director of cricket to further the school’s cricket programme.
‘It was perfect,’ Ferreira said. ‘I was toying with the idea of being involved at a school but there was nothing available in Pretoria, so when this came up, I didn’t have to think twice.’
Ferreira played 19 seasons of first-class cricket for Northern Transvaal and eight seasons for Warwickshire, as well as playing two unofficial internationals for South Africa, before hanging up his bats and boots to become involved in coaching. He has been involved in a number of different roles at CSA, but he has focused on coaching education and the development of coaches. CSA’s coaching course has been his responsibility and he has also been the director of the National Academy and coach of the SA U19 team.
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Spine-tingling moment as Thabang Moroe awards Anton Yogi Ferreira with a special award for lifetime achievement and contribution in cricket at the Cricket SA Award breakfast. #yogi #cricket #cricketsa #awards #captains #womenscricket #proteas #proteascricket #winners @cricket_south_africa
In short, there’s no one more qualified for the job and the school is getting all that experience, along with the passion for the game and bubbling enthusiasm that everyone who knows him will attest to.
‘It’s a new position and the headmaster, Mr Dave Lovatt, and the master-in-charge of cricket, Mr Eugene Marx, and I have been meeting to define it,’ explained Ferreira.
‘In essence, I won’t be coaching a team, although I’m sure I’ll be trying to help individual players. Instead, I think I can make the most impact by working with the coaches, and reviewing the systems and processes. My experience and contacts can be helpful there.
‘For example, we can look at how to best use the one and a half hours available in the nets when you have 20 players and only three strips. That’s not something that many people think about.’
Ferreira added that Lovatt is a stickler for good behaviour, etiquette and sportsmanship, and those are areas that Ferreira himself has always emphasised to players and coaches.
‘We have great kids in this country, and the boys at KES have impressed me already. But in the modern world, you have to guide them, there are so many distractions and influences. Cricket is a good way of doing that and that’s what I’m hoping to do,’ he said.
Coaches education is what Ferreira will be focusing on, based on the work he has done at CSA, and it will involve practice methodology and structure, technical advice, player identification as well as mentoring of players and coaches.
‘I’m going to spend the first few weeks observing before jumping in, and the players and coaches I’ve met so far tell me this is going to be a fantastic experience,’ added Ferreira.
Photo: Theo Garrun