During the KFC T20I series against Zimbabwe, KFC gave the Mini-Cricket kids an opportunity to join their Protea heroes on their official tour.
The winning schools, Nomandi Junior Secondary School of Port St Johns, Paarl’s Amstelhof Primary School and Bayview Primary School from Port Elizabeth had a once in a lifetime experience to join their heroes and have a sneak preview of what happens behind in the scenes on an official Proteas tour.
The tour officially began in preparation for the first KFC T20I game in East London, where Nomandi Junior Secondary School’s KFC Mini-Cricket team received a warm welcome from their heroes. The kids also took up the opportunity to get active in an intense Proteas fitness session ahead of the game and received invaluable insights into what it takes to be a national hero as well as the hard work one needs to put in to be a great sportsman.
In addition to the KFC Mini-Cricket kids from Bayview Primary School rubbing shoulders with JP Duminy, Tabraiz Shamsi and Lungi Ngidi, the kids went behind the scenes to see the Proteas locker rooms where they got a real feel of how the teams prepares itself for all games.
Another intimate session was led by wicketkeeper, Heinrich Klaasen who was welcomed by a chant from the kids titled ‘Klaasen jou lekker ding’. The learners were overwhelmed at first but warmed up to him as he sat with them in the grandstands. This meant so much for the learners of Amstelhof Primary as this was the first time to see a Protea in their midst, let alone the whole team.
To close off the Tour, the KFC Mini-Cricket kids from Bayview Primary School flew to Johannesburg where they had a surprise room drop by Proteas Lungi Ngidi, Dane Paterson and Andile Phehlukwayo. The ecstatic kids were also spoilt with a personalised signing session with their Protea Heroes.
Taki Simeli, External Communication Specialist at KFC, believes the tour was a success. ‘We believe the KFC Mini-Cricket Kids Join the Proteas on Tour competition really exceeded our wildest expectations. The once-in-a-lifetime experience gave the kids an opportunity to ignite the passion they have for their favourite sport and we hope the fire will continue to burn whilst getting active.
‘At KFC we are always looking for opportunities to further enhance our KFC Mini-Cricket programme. Our sponsorship of the KFC T20 International Series is a way to profile the programme and bring the kids close to their cricketing heroes, making them part of the game, inspiring the kids and reigniting their passion for cricket.’
Proteas bowler, Junior Dala, who participated in the fitness assessment with the KFC Mini-Cricket kids shared how he knew the importance of being a role model and on working towards his goals.
‘We showed them there is more to being a Protea than just playing on the field. The kids learned that there is a number of activities that take place behind the scenes. The biggest thing for them to learn is that they need to keep up their enthusiasm and work hard to achieve their goals.’
The two-day experience included a live experience at a KFC T20I match. Each match day experience included the KFC Mini-Cricket kids taking part in the guard of honour, officiating at the coin toss, participating as ball boys and girls during the games and taking part in the prize giving ceremonies after the matches.
Proteas legend, Robin Peterson joined the kids on tour and also landed a hand in gearing up tomorrow’s cricketing heroes.
‘I remember going to the nets in Port Elizabeth when I was young to get signatures and see how my heroes played. The KFC Mini-Cricket initiative is an exceptional way to build even more love for the game and build true sportsman and women on and off the field. I hope the KFC Mini-Cricket Kids will never forget this experience.’ he added.
The KFC Mini-Cricket programme continues to be the largest national grassroots development programme in South Africa and offers kids critical building blocks for learning cricketing basics and entrenching a love for the game.