• Central Gauteng Lions on the charge

    These are good days for the Central Gauteng Lions on the field, as well as off, for players and officials alike.

    In line with the entities’ strategic mission to advance and transform cricket in Central Gauteng, four strategic objectives form the core of the turnaround plan – the creation of quality winning teams, ensuring that club and school cricket thrive, maintenance of the stadium’s iconic reputation, and continued growth of its fan base while offering the best fan experience.

    A look at the current performance against the set objectives reveal startling results.

    Creating quality winning teams

    Central Gauteng Lions appointed new coaching staff for the Highveld Lions, led by Thabiso Enoch Nkwe and assisted by Wandile Gwavu. The Highveld Lions recently won the CSA 4-Day Franchise Series trophy. Several players were called up for national duties: Kagiso Rabada, Temba Bavuma, Beuran Hendricks, Reeza Hendricks, Wiaan Mulder, Dwaine Pretorius and Rassie van der Dussen.

    In September 2018, Central Gauteng Lions won the 2018 Africa T20 Cup, led by Temba Bavuma, Mangaliso Mosehle and Nono Pongolo. Jozi Stars, managed by the Central Gauteng Lions, won the inaugural Mzansi Super League tournament in December 2018.

    READ ALSO: Lions snatch 4-Day Series with 10th last ball of season

    Ensuring that club and school cricket thrive

    While significant investment and efforts continue to build the Central Gauteng cricket pipeline, the Central Gauteng team defended the U19 Coca-Cola Khaya Majola week, with Cameroon Shekleton, Kgaudise Molefe, Bryce Parsons and Tumelo Yeki leading the pack under the guidance of newly-appointed coach Siya Sibiya.

    The following players were selected to the national teams at the conclusion of the week: Cameron Shekleton (SA Schools), Bryce Parsons (SA Schools), Kgaudise Molefe (SA Schools), Tumelo Yeki (SA Colts) and Emmanuel Motswiri (SA Colts).

    The Lions Franchise participated in the Cubs week in Stellenbosch from 3-7 January 2019. Kgaudise Molefe and Bryce Parsons were selected to represent SA U19 on their tour to India.

    The Central Gauteng Lions continued to foster their relationship with Wits University and the University of Johannesburg. The partnership included bursaries, sponsorships, mentorships and high-quality cricket coaching with the focus on enhancing both academic and on-field performance. Young players such as Tumelo Tlhokwe and Joshua Richards were among those selected to be part of this programme.

    Women’s cricket continued to grow in leaps and bounds, both at junior and senior level. Young, talented girls took part in various cricket festivals across the country with good results achieved all around.

    A number of players were invited to attend the Women’s National Camp from the 6-11 January 2019: Nonkululeko Thabethe, Robyn Searle, Trisha Chetty, Yolani Fourie, Raisibe Ntozakhe Ayabonga Khaka and Shabnim Ismail. Two players were invited to attend the National Academy scheduled to take place from 2 June 2019 to 2 August 2019 (Nonkululeko Thabethe and Robyn Searle).

    In October-November 2018, four provincial teams were selected after closely contested trials to represent Gauteng at various Momentum Cricket Weeks held in various parts of the country. U13A, hosted in Benoni, saw mixed performances from the team with few victories. U15A, hosted in Stellenbosch and very good cricket played, with the team losing 1 match out of the 6 and 1 match rained out. U17A put in some brave performances in Durban, with the team losing two closely-contested matches out of the 6 matches.

    The appointment of Reuben Mandlazi as the new Central Gauteng Lions cricket services manager was aligned with the efforts of strengthening the cricket development pipeline.

    Highveld Lions

    Maintenance of the stadium’s iconic reputation

    Central Gauteng Lions appointed one of the leading grounds curators in the country (Evan Flint) with the aim to maintain the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium’s iconic reputation. This was at the back of a substantial investment spent on upgrading stadium facilities and infrastructure, including the upgrade of the media centre, lifts, seating, sun zone, scoreboard and nets, among other facilities.

    Grow the fan base and offer the best fan experience

    Central Gauteng Lions implemented an integrated brand campaign (#JoinTheCharge) that sought to align the three Central Gauteng brands – Highveld Lions, Central Gauteng Lions Strikers and Central Gauteng Lions board.

    Looking ahead for the remainder of the 2018-19 cricket season

    Central Gauteng Lions will continue implementing the adopted turnaround strategy, and offer the best fan experience throughout all remaining domestic and international matches.

    Photo: Cricket South Africa

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