Former Proteas bowler Makhaya Ntini has launched his long-awaited cricket academy in Mdantsane.
According to the Eastern Cape’s Dispatch Live, the Makhaya Ntini Cricket Academy will start off small, running Fun Fridays School Cricket Clinics once every two weeks.
The initiative was launched to tie in with Nelson Mandela Day, with a host of government officials, Ntini’s business partners and sponsors as well as students and teachers attending the event at the Winter Rose Sports Centre.
Speaking to the assembled crowd, Ntini spoke of his long-held desire to start an academy that will nurture talent in the Eastern Cape.
‘As a person who played cricket for this country for a long time, it has been my dream that one day I will have a school of excellence I can call my own, and this is the beginning of that.
‘I will be going to schools where I will choose the talent we know is there, but needs someone to go and look for it … I will be the one who does that.’
The clinics, which will be held at a host of schools in East London every second Friday, will aim to identify and develop young cricket players with the potential to become stars.
The Academy itself is still in the planning phase, with the buildings set to be constructed at the Winter Rose Sports Centre.
Ntini has been raising funds for the project for a number of years now, but decided to start the clinics as a cost-effective way of getting his dream off the ground.
He has also been granted the use of Border Cricket’s facilities in the mean time, and hopes to have his first batch of players selected by February next year.
Closing off his speech, Ntini talked about why he thinks the academy will be a success. ‘There is a wealth of talent in this country, especially in the Eastern Cape,’ he said.
‘We are going back to the old ways of finding cricketers – going to the schools and finding the talent that is there. That is how I was found and I will be doing the same.’