Major boost for local cricket development

Run Ride Dive News School-Sports
Dirk Steenkamp and Stephan Maluleka

A visionary partnership between Northerns Cricket Union, Curro Schools and the Multiply Titans has produced a unique pipeline-structure for the holistic development of talented, previously disadvantaged teen cricket players. The partnership is set to provide a major boost to cricket development in the Northerns area.

Announced at SuperSport Park ahead of the South Africa/Sri Lanka KFC T20 International, the programme is set to support 30 bursaries per year, with 30 supplementary bursaries to be added each year. In three to four years, the programme should see approximately 100 more disadvantaged teen cricketers. The bursary scheme at full utilisation is worth about R5 million per annum. The first learner to receive a bursary, Stephen Maluleka, is already enrolled in grade 8 at Curro Roodeplaat in Tshwane.

The cricket programme is made possible thanks to the support of the Ruta Sechaba Foundation Bursary scheme. The Foundation was established in 2016 to provide academic and other sport-related scholarships, bursaries and awards to qualifying learners at Curro and Curro-managed schools. The Ruta Sechaba Foundation is open to all donors wishing to provide access to quality education for underprivileged learners. The Foundation offers all donors the undertaking that the programme will be run on a zero-cost basis, with all donor-money benefitting the learners.

Previously disadvantaged learners who qualify for a bursary will be kitted out with all necessary gear to help them excel in the development of their cricket skills. However, more important is the holistic approach of the project, since bursary holders will also receive independent education at Curro Schools. This guarantees the development of healthy academic prowess alongside cricketing abilities, with the bursaries supporting annual school fees and levies, a tablet, transport for nine months, plus stationery and textbooks.

Although there is a bursary application process open to the public, scouting for talent will be done at district trials, with the Union also assisting with the organisation of a six-a-side festival for u13-players in certain Curro Schools’ districts.

“This new development plan is aimed at producing cricketers for the Proteas, but also well-rounded individuals, academically sound and superb community leaders for the nation,” said Johan Muller, Cricket Operations Manager at the Northerns Cricket Union. Former first-class cricketer Tumi Masekela is the mentor and coach to all bursary holders.

Curro Holdings will be contributing to the strengthening of the Northerns’ pipeline-structures by investing in the upgrading of Curro Schools cricket facilities, with Cricket South Africa’s Schools Quality Index used as a guide. Set to stand at R1 million for 2017, Curro Holdings will finance the improvement of grass pitches, practice nets and sightscreens, while ensuring that all field requirements are met.

“As a leading independent education provider in the country, it made sense to put our weight behind a youth sports initiative that will boost the transformation of South African school cricket,” says Dr Chris van der Merwe, CEO of Curro Holdings.

Northerns Cricket Union will help with an in-depth cricket education programme for Curro teachers identified as coaches and assistants. Teachers are also set to undergo the necessary training to improve their skills as Level I and Level II cricket coaches.

“Curro Holdings is honoured to assist with the development of previously disadvantaged cricketing talent, but also the enhancement of their academic careers through full scholarship bursaries,” said Andries Greyling, Chief Operating Officer at Curro Holdings.

Jacques Faul, Chief Executive Officer of the Multiply Titans, noted transformation is a key strategic pillar of Cricket South Africa, and maximising the talent of young potential superstars from previously disadvantaged societies forms part of the heartbeat and passion of the Titans family. “Therefore, we can only applaud this development plan and express our sincere gratitude to the Ruta Sechaba Foundation Bursary,” he added.

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