CSA has invested in the development of SA’s school talent by extending their partnership with Momentum for Friendship Matches.
The good news about the return of Cricket South Africa (CSA) and partners Momentum’s Friendship Matches is that not only has the sponsorship been extended for the next five years, but the games will also be coming thick and fast.
Earlier this year, the inaugural Momentum Friendship Matches – which are essentially the partners’ efforts at up-skilling CSA’s development hubs and regional performance centres (RPCs) by getting them to play against traditional cricket schools – only numbered three.
Those games, which were a massive success because they pitted teams that wouldn’t normally play against each other, saw Gelvandale hub play against Grey High School in Port Elizabeth, Rocklands hub against Grey College in Bloemfontein and the Alexandra hub up against St Stithians.
As Momentum head of sponsorship Carel Bosman explained, the emphasis is less on the results than on the impact of the occasion for the future.
‘We are passionate about communities, about people being active and about families,’ he said. ‘And then, of course, there is the bigger picture for us where we can be involved with cricket from a development level, into club cricket, domestic cricket and international cricket.
‘We hope the day arrives when we see one of these young players go all the way, but of course, sport does much more than that. Ultimately for us it’s what sport teaches individuals about discipline, about teamwork and all those values, that’s what really excites us.’
In October alone, there will be no less than three matches as the programme picks up steam, with more hubs and RPCs getting an opportunity to play against some of their former Model C and private school counterparts at levels that range from under-13 to under-18.
This should be good news for CSA hubs co-ordinator David Mokopanele, who is happy with the chemistry between the schools and the hubs: ‘The camaraderie has been great, the traditional schools are keen to be part of this and contribute positively towards the development of the game of cricket in previously disadvantaged areas.’
To kickstart this season’s matches, Alexandra hub will play against St Stithians in Randburg. This is the school that produced international cricket al-lrounder Grant Elliott [New Zealand Black Caps] and Proteas fast bowler Kagiso Rabada, who a week ago became the youngest South African player to reach 100 test wickets at barely over 22 years of age.
On October 21 Matlosana hub comes up against Potchefstroom Gymnasium. As things stand, the Khuma and Jouberton townships, which are catered for by the Matlosana hub, have so far only produced soccer greats, former Bafana Bafana strikers Phil and Bennett Masinga. It’s time for some cricket talent to emerge from the area.
But with more games such as the game against Potch Gymnasium they could equal, if not better the youngsters who have been awarded scholarships to Curro College in Klerksdorp.
The final game in October is at the Gelvandale hub – an area which has already contributed plenty of talent to South African cricket through Proteas Ashwell Prince, Robin Peterson and former national team coach Russell Domingo – repeating the very first Momentum Friendship Match against Proteas all-rounder Wayne Parnell’s old school, Grey PE (on 28 October).