The World Cup-winning Under-19 cricket squad triumphed in the Team of the Year category at the 2014 South African Sports Awards, hosted in Johannesburg on Sunday.
Captained by batsman Aiden Markram and coached by the stalwart Ray Jennings, whose tenure has since ended, the South Africans beat Pakistan in the final of the limited-overs showpiece in Dubai earlier this year.
‘I have never made an excuse for mediocrity. I will never shy away from pulling an extravaganza to celebrate those who emulate the winning spirit of South Africa,’ said minister of sport and recreation Fikile Mbalula.
‘We pulled out all stops to do just that – not just to celebrate these stars but to encourage others to remain patriotic and represent this country.’
Proteas ODI captain AB de Villiers, meanwhile, was not named Sportsman of the Year. Olympic swimmer Chad Le Clos, instead, clinched the coveted accolade. De Villiers, though, welcomed a Ministerial Excellence award.
Free State Cricket Union president Zola Thamae secured the Administrator of the Year trophy and former Cricket South Africa and International Cricket Council president Ray Mali received the Steve Tshwete Lifetime Achievement award.
‘We take great pride on the achievements of these individuals and I extend our heartiest congratulations to all of them on behalf of the CSA family,’ added CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat.
‘As we reach the end of the year we can reflect and be proud of the many good things that have happened across so many areas of our operations. These are, indeed, exciting and vibrant times for South African cricket.’