CRICKET SOUTH AFRICA (CSA), last week, hosted a workshop discussing the progress of its highly successful Hubs and Regional Performance Centres (RPC) program.
The two-day workshop brought together all the coaches from the 58 Hubs and RPC’s to discuss that success, the challenges encountered along the way and to highlight areas that needed urgent attention going forward.
The Hubs and RPCs have been instrumental in transforming the cricket landscape and changing lives by bringing through young talent from townships and rural areas, with many youngsters from those programmes cracking junior provincial sides or getting bursaries at so-called traditional cricket schools over the last three years.
In the past 12 months, the Hubs and RPC’s have had 138 players progress into junior provincial teams, a 15 player per season increase on average.
CSA’s Mass Participation Manager, David Mokopanele, said the workshop was important for CSA to check in with its coaches.
“It’s important to engage with the guys to check what’s been done in the year or so before and plan the way forward with them in terms of what needs to be done in producing new players,” he explained.
One of the key speakers was former Titans wicketkeeper and New Zealand international Kruger van Wyk, who is now head coach of the successful University of Pretoria cricket programme, which has produced Titans players Lungi Ngidi, now a Proteas T20 player, and former SA Under-19 captain Aiden Markram, amongst others.
“We also wanted to share our thoughts on new coaching techniques with the coaches,” said Mokopanele. “We had Kruger van Wyk of Tuks Sports who shared ideas with us on how they operate in a professional set up. It was quite interesting.”
Mokopanele said the key thing to take away for the coaches was responsibility for their programs.
He added: “The key messaging from all the speakers was ‘own your area, you are a CEO and manager of those hubs and RPC’s and need to make sure that administratively and on the cricket side of things, everything is solid’.”
SA Under-19 convenor of selectors and former Proteas fast bowler Victor Mpitsang said the Hubs and RPC’s were key to making his life easier as they were the ones filling the pipeline with the players his team needs.
“The role they play in the TAP (Talent Acceleration Program) is important,” he said. “Being the Under-19 convenor they give us a lot of options, a lot of players. And a lot of the players have gone to private schools so it’s a wonderful programme to have.
“I think over the next two years we’re going to start seeing a lot of players starting to come through that system.”
Primrose Hub (Cape Town) coach Siya Sibiya felt it wasn’t enough that they were producing players, but more importantly was the kind of players they were producing.
“It is growing but we’re not happy with where we are,” he explained. “The bar has now been raised to not only produce players, but to produce players who can perform at a higher level and more consistently at the national weeks.
“I think that’s been our shortfall, we’ve been producing players but they haven’t been performing at the weeks as well as they could. We need to put our focus on those players and better equip them.”