The best U19 cricketers from KZN Coastal and KZN Inland will join the rest of the country’s young talent at this year’s edition of the Coca-Cola Khaya Majola Week in Cape Town from 16-20 December.
In total, 16 teams will participate in the 2018 instalment of the prestigious cricket week, which includes neighbouring country Namibia.
KZN Coastal coach Mduduzi Mbatha said his team’s preparation is well on track leading into the tournament which is only days away.
‘The preparations have been good,’ said Mbatha. ‘What we’ve focused on closer to the tournament is making sure that everyone understands their role. We want everyone to buy into whatever they have to do for the team to do well – understanding that the team comes first.’
Mbatha is no stranger to school boy cricket, as he was part of the SA Schools XI in 2005.
The 40-year-old tournament is responsible for unearthing some of the country’s finest cricketers. Many have gone on to play franchise cricket and represent the Proteas.
Marquee players who have been involved in the Coca-Cola Khaya Majola Cricket Week and remained mainstays in the Proteas setup, include fast bowler Lungi Ngidi (KwaZulu-Natal Inland) and all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo (KZN Coastal).
The 2018 edition of Coke Week, as it is famously known across the country, will not be shy of talented individuals, and KZN Coastal will be boasting all-rounder Andile Mogakane, who was part of the 2017 South African U19 World Cup squad in New Zealand.
‘There are a few guys that are going to the tournament for the second or third time this year, so they know what’s expected. We’ve just made sure that they are in a good frame of mind and that they enjoy being there for the last time as a group, as the majority of the guys are in Matric and it’s their last schoolboy tournament,’ Mbatha added.
KZN Coastal will take on Central Gauteng at Rondebosch Boys High in their first match, while KZN Inland will lock horns with Northerns at Bishops. The competition is played over a course of five days and consists of three different formats.
Day one and two are time cricket contests, day three sees two rounds of T20s, and four and five will be 50-over matches.
The fixtures for the final two days of the week will only be decided after the first three days are completed, with the matches scheduled on a strength-on-strength basis.
Gauteng will provide the Coastal side with a stern test first up, as the men from the Highveld have historically been one of the strongest sides at Coke Week.
‘The boys are up for the challenge and know it will be a tough game, so they have to bring their A game and are excited to showcase their skills against one of the best sides,’ Mbatha said.
Despite having one of the smaller bases of players to choose from, KZN Inland coach Minenhle Magubane and his team will not take a step back for any team.
‘We are not intimidated by any team, we believe that we are the best in the country. We just have to go out there and produce the results,’ Magubane added.
‘Execution will be key, we just have to carry out what we have prepared and the results will take care of themselves,’ Magubane said.
With six matches in five days, the demand on the players is going to be high, and Magubane understands the importance of being fresh on their arrival in Cape Town.
‘To prepare for the amount of cricket that will be played at Coke Week, we opted to take a break from training, but there are some guys who are putting in the hard yards in one-on-one training sessions,’ said Magubane.
Inland will have the likes of SA U19 players Fraser Jones and Mondli Khumalo to rely on through the week.
The week culminates in the announcement of the South African Schools side, as well as the SA Colts XI.
KZN Coastal Squad
Caleb Pillay (Westville)
Thamsanqa Khumalo (Glenwood)
Matthew Montgomery (Clifton)
Andile Mogakane (Northwood)
Matthew Pollard (Westville)
Mhlengi Ndaba (Christian High School)
Joshua Brown (Clifton College)
Prealin Naidu (Kharwastan)
Robert Koenig (Kearsney)
Steven Naidoo (Glenwood)
Lifa Ntanzi (Glenwood)
Carl Heunis (Kearsney)
Hayden Rossouw (Glenwood)
Coach: Mduduzi Mbatha
Asst coach: Fabian Lazarus
Manager: Gregory Thomson.
KZN Inland Squad
Nathaniel Benjamin (St Charles)
Michael Brownlee (Michaelhouse)
Jared Campbell (Maritzburg College)
Jayden Gengan (Maritzburg College)
Wezo Gqiba (Hilton College)
Fraser Jones (Michaelhouse)
Mondli Khumalo (Maritzburg College)
Robbie McGaw (Hilton College)
James Ritchie (Hilton College)
Gareth Schreuder (Hilton College)
Mikey Sclanders (Hilton College)
Andile Zondi (Msimude High)
Thabiso Zondi (Msimude High)
Coach: Minenhle Magubane
Asst Coach: Ismail Kajee
Manager: Neelan Iyavoo
KZN Coastal & KZN Inland Fixtures
16 December 2018
Central Gauteng vs KZN Coastal – Rondebosch Boys’ High
Northerns vs KZN Inland Bishops – Oaks Field
17 December 2018
Boland vs KZN Inland Vineyard Oval – WPCC
Eastern Province vs KZN Coastal Bishops – Oaks Field
18 December 2018 (AM)
Easterns vs KZN Coastal Vineyard Oval – WPCC
Limpopo vs KZN Inland – SACS de Villiers Oval
18 December 2018 (PM)
KZN Coastal vs Free State Vineyard Oval – WPCC
Namibia vs KZN Inland – Cape Town Cricket Club
19 December 2018
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images