KFC Mini Cricket kids did battle with the Proteas at Newlands on Thursday, in what proved to be an exciting curtain-raiser for the Boks vs Proteas clash.
The fourth year of the KFC Mini Cricket Kids vs Proteas tour got underway in sweltering conditions in Cape Town, and the Proteas certainly felt the heat as they were pushed all the way by the kids from Kimberley Islamic School as they beat them by just two runs.
The Proteas took no prisoners after the kids beat them last year, with the likes of Kagiso Rabada, Faf du Plessis, Wayne Parnell and Hashim Amla all turning out against the Graeme Smith-coached side from the Northern Cape.
Farhaan Behardien was another member from the national side and tells SAcricketmag.com that he was delighted to be a part of what was a special day for the kids.
‘It’s been going on a few years now and the guys are more than happy to give up their time and get the kids active,’ says Behardien. ‘The kids have come all the way from Kimberley and it’s a big day in their lives. We just wanted to try and make it special for them.’
KFC have sponsored Mini Cricket since 2010, and have played their part in getting over 114 000 kids active from over 5 500 schools, comprising nearly 9 000 volunteers.
One of those volunteers is the Principal of Kimberley Islamic School, Nazree Aysen, who says it was a dream come true when her school was picked to play on the tour.
‘The children have been excited about this for a long time,’ she says. ‘They always say that Kimberley is a hidden place so for it was a bit overwhelming for us. It’s just so great that was can give the kids these kinds of opportunities. There’s one kid on the team who has cystic fibrosis so he’s quite ill, but this has given him hope and it shows that no matter how sick you are, you can reach any heights you want.
‘We’re from Kimberley, so in a town full of diamonds, we couldn’t wait to sparkle.’
KFC Mini Cricket is the largest grassroots development sports programme in the country, and while there has been an enhanced focus on producing excellence and future stars in recent times, the overarching aim is to ensure the kids entrench a love for the sport by getting active and healthy and learning the basics.
AB de Villiers was one of many to play and benefit from Mini Cricket, and despite not being able to play due to his elbow injury, attended the match and met some of the kids.
‘We love meeting up with the youngsters,’ says the Proteas skipper. ‘I always say that it feels like yesterday that I met role models like Jonty Rhodes and it’s a pleasure to give back. Getting kids active and making new friends is what it’s all about.’
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images