for quality writing

Ken Borland



Standard Bank jump in at grassroots level to ensure decent opportunities for all 0

Posted on October 31, 2017 by Ken

 

That there is enormous cricketing potential in this country is generally accepted, but due to a variety of reasons, it is tough for Cricket South Africa (CSA) to ensure all our communities get decent opportunities to play the game.

CSA’s development programmes are one thing, but what happens next? How do those talented young cricketers in the outlying areas then get to play enough decent matches, how are they transported to matches, what facilities do they have with which to hone their game? Are they given the love of cricket and then just left to their own devices?

CSA identified these problems and came up with the idea of hubs and regional performance centres (RPCs).

The RPCs have been a heck of a success in ensuring it is no longer the case that talented young cricketers from disadvantaged areas are lost to the system due to socio-economic circumstances. And, in tremendous news for South African cricket, it has been announced on Thursday that Standard Bank, the headline sponsors of the Proteas, will no longer be focused on just the pinnacle of the pipeline, but are now making a major contribution at grassroots level with their sponsorship of the RPC programme.

The implementation of the RPC programme means CSA are now making great headway in terms of building relationships with communities and local municipalities. And now this progress will be accelerated thanks to the support of Standard Bank, who have added this vital development initiative to their naming rights sponsorship of the national team.

“Standard Bank has been a key supporter and sponsor of the Proteas for many years and by sponsoring the RPCs we hope to develop the immense cricketing talent we have in our country.

Budding young cricketers in many outlying areas are still in desperate need of facilities and coaching, and this RPC in Soweto will assist in helping these players fulfil their true potential and turn their dreams into reality,” Vuyo Masinda from Standard Bank said at the launch of the new deal at the Dobsonville RPC in Soweto on Thursday.

There are RPCs in all nine provinces, with each having several hubs in their stable acting as feeders. Having a centralised venue dedicated to nurturing the disadvantaged talent in the vicinity allows CSA to pour resources into it, ensuring there is adequate infrastructure with which to develop quality cricketers.

Girls and women’s cricket is also included in this programme.

The quality of coaching is also of the greatest importance and each RPC must have a head coach who is Level III certified and an assistant coach who is Level II certified. The Hubs must have a head coach who is Level II certified and an assistant coach who is Level I certified.

The feeder system for the Hubs starts with the KFC Mini-Cricket programme and, thanks to the Momentum Friendship Games, the Hubs and RPCs get to play against the leading schools in their area.

Some of the franchise players who will be acting as mentors for the programme include Omphile Ramela, Malusi Siboto, Khaya Zondo, Mangaliso Mosehle and Temba Bavuma.

Provided with decent support, our sportswomen flourish 0

Posted on August 01, 2017 by Ken

 

Women’s sport has always taken the back seat in this macho country of ours, but the last 10 days have shown just how much can be achieved, and how much joy our female sports stars can bring us when they are provided with decent support.

The Proteas women’s cricket team are the obvious example and one could only salute a magnificent effort when they were pipped by eventual champions England in their World Cup semi-final, which was one of the classic games of the tournament as the hosts and favourites were so nearly undone by the tenacious underdogs.

Our national women’s cricket team have become the most-improved team in the game thanks to the wonderful support they have been given by Momentum and Cricket South Africa. Many young girls will have been inspired by their efforts and it is vital that the momentum created by their exploits is not lost.

The national women’s hockey team have just finished a global tournament of their own in the Hockey World League, which will go down as yet another international showpiece sporting event that we have hosted with aplomb.

Unfortunately, South African hockey does not have the same sort of backing as our cricketers, and it still sticks in the craw to see Investec, founded in Johannesburg in 1974, emblazoned all over the England team. But they have arguably more female talent than even the cricketers do simply because it has been ‘acceptable’ in our misogynistic society for women to play hockey for far longer than it has for cricket.

They showed that they have the ability to consistently be in the top-10 in the world rankings by finishing fifth in the Hockey World League Semifinals, pulling off a memorable win over eventual champions, the United States, as well as beating Ireland and Japan and finishing above India in the final standings. They also qualified automatically for the World Cup.

The obvious enjoyment they get from playing alongside each other, their tremendous team spirit, is one of their greatest assets, but sadly, it was obviously lacking from the men’s team, who managed to avoid relegation but did not win any other games.

Again, South Africa has the male talent to push for a top-10 place, with several of our players sought-after members of overseas clubs, which enables them to escape the poor economic prospects of an amateur sport in this country.

But it is this split-nature of the team – made up of locally-based and overseas-based players – that is causing problems, just as it did with Springbok rugby. According to players who are part of the expanded national squad, the environment in the camp is “hostile” and this threatens to scupper any hopes of our men’s team recouping the losses they have suffered over the last few years of neglect.

Sure, hockey overseas is more professional and better, but the returning players need to realise their job is to lift up their team-mates who are still slogging it out back at home, not belittle them. The team culture is non-existent, with some stars apparently staying in their own hotels, and it is up to the senior players to set an example.

Apart from results, there has been one casualty already with coach Fabian Gregory resigning to take up a position overseas. He says he battled to get his ideas through to the team, that he had a hard time dealing with certain “know-it-all” players.

The senior players, apparently, found it hard to take Gregory seriously as a coach, especially those who are based overseas.

So a new coach will have to be found before the Africa Cup in October – which will be crucial for World Cup qualification – and, hard as it will be for some absolute stalwarts of South African hockey, the time seems right to make a new start with the men’s team, who are really rather old in global terms.

My new broom would be Garreth Ewing, who was one of Gregory’s assistants at the Hockey World League, and I have been highly-impressed by the work he has done with both the SA U21 and University of Johannesburg sides, both in terms of the brand of hockey they play and the team culture he has grown.

50 minutes enough for Steyn to destroy West Indies 0

Posted on March 03, 2015 by Ken

There were only 50 minutes of action for a decent Saturday crowd at SuperSport Park but it was highly pleasing fare for them as home-grown hero Dale Steyn destroyed the West Indies, bowling South Africa to victory by a massive innings and 220 runs, their second biggest win by an innings, in the first Test at Centurion.

Only their triumph over Sri Lanka at Newlands in the 2001 New Year’s Test, by an innings and 229 runs, has been bigger.

The West Indies batsmen resumed on 76-2 but were powerless to keep a rampant Steyn in check, the fast bowler taking six for 34 as the tourists were bundled out for 131, Kemar Roach again being unable to bat due to his ankle injury.

Steyn’s availability after bowling just five balls in the follow-on innings on Friday was a massive bonus for the injury-hit South Africans and even the most one-eyed West Indian supporter could not help but be impressed by a ferocious spell of fast bowling.

Leon Johnson and Marlon Samuels added 11 to the overnight score before the left-handed Johnson (39) tried to play a short delivery from Steyn just outside off stump. It was unnecessary, the ball got big on him and he could not get over it, edging a regulation catch to wicketkeeper AB de Villiers.

Given Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s recent form – 270 runs in his last three innings without being dismissed – his displays in this Test have been an anomaly: 21 in the first innings and then just 4 on Saturday before a Steyn bouncer was beautifully straight and did not get up as much as the 40-year-old expected, the left-hander gloving a simple catch to De Villiers.

By now Steyn was as lethal as a basilisk, all fiery glances and poetry in motion as he hit the popping crease. Samuels (17) and Denesh Ramdin (4) were dismissed within three balls in his fifth over of the morning, the former undone by a clever cutter that gripped and bounced more than expected, and the West Indies captain dismissed in more conventional fashion, prodding from the crease at an away-swinger, De Villiers leaping nimbly to take a spectacular one-handed catch in front of slip.

The West Indies were 105 for six and their effete tail was no match for the brilliance of Steyn.

The last specialist batsman, Jermaine Blackwood, lasted for 17 balls in scoring 15 before a well-directed Morkel lifter at the body had him caught  at short-leg, replacement fielder Temba Bavuma snatching up a sharp catch.

Three overs later, it was all over, Steyn having enacted a heavy toll on the West Indies to make up for his wicket-less first innings and claiming his best figures at the ground he called home for so many years.

 http://citizen.co.za/296877/dale-steyn-delivers-hammer-blow-proteas-crush-windies/



↑ Top