Head coach of the 2017 Powerade National Academy Programme, Malibongwe Maketa, believes the three-month development course is more than just about cricket, saying it will enable those involved to further enhance their individual life skills.
The programme began last week, immediately after Cricket South Africa (CSA) hosted the launch at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria.
Eighteen players have been selected for the men’s programme this year, while 14 will take part in the women’s programme, which will be held in September and October.
The entire group earned their places after showing promise over the past season and Maketa says they will learn more than just cricketing skills from their time at the Academy.
“A programme like this is really holistic in terms of looking at the players’ development point of view,” he said. “You don’t only focus on cricket, you also focus on what they’re actually faced with outside of the game, which helps them grow as cricketers and also helps them grow as people.
“So we take great pride in making sure we develop not only good cricketers, but also good people.”
The men’s programme will be followed by the SA Emerging Squad tour of Zimbabwe in August for two four-day matches and three List A unofficial ODIs.
By that time, Maketa hopes the players would have learnt a whole lot more about themselves as individuals.
“Three months down the line I’d really like to see the guys walking out from here with a lot of self-reference,” he explained. “They shouldn’t really need a lot of telling.
“They should actually have reached a point where they trust their game and they know what they’re about. And they’ve learnt enough to always reflect on what they’ve learnt in this three months to build on bigger things to come in their careers.”
The Warriors coach is also excited by the group of players he will be heading, amongst them the likes of Lwandiswa Zuma, Senuran Muthusamy and Wiaan Mulder, who all had a significant amount of franchise game time during the 2016/17 term.
“The expectation is always there with such a talented group of players,” he added. “We’ve seen what this programme has done in the past, so from Cricket South Africa’s side and the way we see this programme working, we’re really excited by the intake and we know that they’re going to go out and represent us proudly.”
Powerade SA National Academy Men’s Squad: Karabo Mogotsi (Gauteng), Wihan Lubbe (North West), Yaseen Vallie (Gauteng), Tony de Zorzi (Northerns), Janneman Malan (North West), Senuran Muthusamy (KZN), Isaac Digale (North West), Michael Cohen (WP), Lwandiswa Zuma (Free State), Tladi Bokako (EP), Okuhle Cele (KZN), Migael Pretorius (Northerns), Ndumiso Mvelase (Gauteng), Kyle Simmonds (Boland), Thomas Kaber (Northerns), Kyle Verrynne (WP), Matthew Christensen (EP), Wiaan Mulder (Gauteng).
Mulder will join the squad once he has completed his SA A commitments.
Management team: Malibongwe Maketa (Head Coach), Shane Burger (Assistant Coach), Nandile Tyali (Fitness Trainer), Michael Gwilliams (Physio), Hendrikus Coertzen (Video Analyst)
Powerade SA National Academy Women’s Squad: Lerato Langa (Gauteng), Robyn Appels (WP), Izelle Cilliers (Free State), Sinalo Jafta (North West), Tumi Sekhukhune (Easterns), Elriessa Fourie (North West), Nkuli Thabethe (Gauteng), Anneke Bosch (North West), Robyn Searle (Gauteng), Evodia Yekile (North West), Stacey Lackay (Boland), Zizipho Mdebuka (WP), Zintle Mali (Border), Odine Kirsten (Northerns).