Buffalo City hosted the first KFC Mini-Cricket Eastern Cape provincial festival at Buffalo City Stadium in East London this week.
Eight hundred of the region’s finest turned up to enjoy a day of cricket fun that saw two rounds of matches and on-the-spot training from Warriors players Gihahn Cloete and Clyde Fortuin as well as players from the provincial side, the Border Bears.
“This is the first regional festival of the season in the Eastern Cape and we were blown away, firstly by the turn out and second, the quality of cricket skills shown by players so young,” CSA Mass Participation Manager, David Mokopanele said.
“It is a pleasure to see the programme doing so well in the Eastern Cape, particularly because cricket is so huge here. We were grateful to have expert coaching assistance from the local franchise and provincial sides and we are looking forward to seeing the country’s future stars emerge from here.”
Fortuin and Cloete, who both began their cricket careers with the mini-cricket programme, were impressed to see the calibre of talent on display. Fortuin went on to be a part of the South Africa under-19 squad that won the ICC U19 World Cup in Dubai in 2014.
“It was amazing to see how much talent was on show today,” he commented.
“To see children who are around six or seven years old, hitting good areas and bowling and fielding with absolute commitment and showing good skills was a pleasant surprise to me and it also made me excited for the future. It wasn’t just fun and games out there, they were playing good, competitive cricket.
“I was also really happy to see so many young girls playing mini-cricket. It’s great to know that the future of our women’s cricket is bright as well,” Fortuin concluded.
The mini-cricket programme is one of CSA’s most important in the organisation’s development pipeline. To date, more than 110 000 children have been involved, with 8000 coaches and 5 300 schools in the system.
The objective in the 2015/2016 season is to grow the programme by at least 5% in each union and to focus on the quality of coaching in order to achieve junior players who have a good foundation of cricket knowledge and skills by the time they are promoted to hard-ball cricket.
The KFC mini-cricket festival moves to the Khaya Majola Oval in Mthatha on Thursday, 29 October 2015.
Source: Cricket South Africa