Mondli Khumalo and Thamsanqa Khumalo have been included in the Coca-Cola South Africa U19 squad to tour England in July this year.
Mondli and Thamsanqa are both products of the KZNCU, Department of Sports and Recreation and Sunfoil Township and Rural Development Programme.
‘This is such a huge achievement for the boys,’ says Sanelisiwe Kuzwayo, manager of the programme. ‘Moreover, it is a huge achievement for our programme and bears testament to the fact that we are producing results.’
She also praised the rural and township coaches who were instrumental in introducing the pair to cricket and honing their skills, adding that ‘our coaches work tirelessly, and in addition to coaching, they also play a mentorship role in the lives of our cricketers – this is a proud moment for them too.’
Mondli, 16, hails from Umlazi and represented SA U19 last September in a triangular series in Potchefstroom, featuring Namibia and England. However, this is his first international outing.
‘I’m excited but, at the same time, I’m shaking,’ he says. ‘This is my first trip overseas and I’ll be representing my country overseas. It’s going to be a challenge for me to understand the conditions away from home – this is going to be a big thing for me.’
His interest in cricket was first sparked in 2012 when he saw his cousin playing for Umlazi Cricket Club. He joined practice sessions hosted by the development programme at his school Zimisele Primary and was soon invited to elite sessions in Umlazi. Mondli’s talent prompted Glenwood Preparatory School to offer him a bursary, which he took up in Grade 7. From there, it was on to Maritzburg College – also on a bursary – where he is currently in Grade 11.
Township and rural development coach, Sandile Simelane, who has worked with Mondli from the outset, says his achievement is richly deserved.
‘His persistence, perseverance and talent have got him to where he is. He has been performing in the various age groups, representing KZN U13 B and A and then the KZN Inland U15 A side, from where he went straight on to Coke Week,’ said Simelane.
Thamsanqa – who is from Ntuzuma – began playing cricket at the age of eight.
‘He came to me when we were coaching at his school,’ recalls his first coach, Zamani Mfusi. ‘I’m very happy for him – he worked hard and has wanted to make the SA side for a long time.’
The 18-year-old batting all-rounder represented KZN schools at U13 A, U15 A and U17 A level before moving on to Coke Week.
He is currently in matric at Glenwood High School, thanks to a Sunfoil Education Trust (SET) bursary, made possible by the Willowton Group. Thamsanqa is the second SET bursary recipient who will wear SA colours, the first being Andile Mogakane, who made the SA U19 squad last year.
‘We are really excited about having played a role in Thamsanqa making the national U19 team,’ says Willowton Group CEO, Zubair Moosa. ‘The SET program is clearly delivering on its objectives as over the years we have seen our bursary students graduating from university with degrees, making age group provincial teams, and now a second recipient going all the way to the U19 National Team.’
Kuzwayo wished the fledgeling cricketers everything of the best: ‘It’s a big moment for them, and we hope they play to the best to their ability and enjoy the experience. From here on – the sky is the limit for them!’
The SA U19 tour to England will include two four-day youth Test matches and three youth ODIs.
More information can be found at www.dolphinscricket.co.za.
Main photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images