Soweto will host the fourth edition of the eKasi challenge on the 7th of September.
The Lions will be defending their impressive track record of three consecutive eKasi wins by hosting the tournament at Head Coach Geoffrey Toyana’s home-ground.
Traditionally used as a pre-season warm-up match, these close rivals will make sure they show up to highlight the very best of their skills and talent to inspire youngsters and captivate supporters. The intention of the challenge is to promote professional cricket to new audiences by insuring the matches alternate between hosts and venues. And with a 3-0 track record there is plenty on the line for both the Lions and the Titans.
In previous years the host team and sponsors Momentum see this as an opportunity to engage with the local community, which will give fans an opportunity to experience a series of meet and greet opportunities in Soweto. Players from both the Lions and the Titans will tour Soweto in an open top Big Red bus on Friday to meet fans and promote the match.
Toyana says ‘playing this event at my home-ground definitely adds to the pressure. I grew up at Soweto Cricket Oval and we will be keen to keep the honours for this match. This is a great way for the team to be reminded of what it is all about – away from television, cameras and professional cricket there are kids that simply want to play this game. I hope this event inspires more of them to get involved.’
The main goal of the eKasi movement is to develop cricket at a base level, using sport as a nation-builder and a metaphor for life-skills and positive empowerment in our communities. Inspiring youngsters using cricket as an example is part of the process of creating and finding fresh talent. Each year Momentum, the Lions and the Titans have contributed to the improvement of local grounds, facilities like clubhouses and skills development of local administrators.
Danie van den Bergh head of Momentum Brand says, ‘The intention of the Momentum eKasi Challenge is to inspire a generation with the idea of possibility. We want to make sure we make a meaningful contribution by leaving behind something of value. Physically we leave behind improved facilities that are then used by the local community and schools in the area. But more than that, we want to leave behind the passion for the game. We want there to be fired-up interest and a steady flow of talent moving up the ranks from grassroots level to club, from franchise to Protea. And we know it can all start from a youngster watching one great game.’
Local communities have been delighted by the professional teams taking the time to bring cricket into their communities. Aaron Phangiso, who has played for Northerns and the Lions, started his cricket career playing in Soshanguve and Protea Eddie Leie from Ikageng in North West, are great examples of home-grown talent. Lions coach Geoffrey Toyana from Soweto has also been a great example of making a career out of cricket.
Toyana continued, ‘The Season is at our doorstep and this is also an opportunity for the guys to get out of the training nets and onto the field. The Titans are a formidable outfit but we will come in with guns blazing.’
Momentum’s sponsorship of the eKasi Challenge means that entrance on match day is free and everyone is welcome.
Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix