CSA recognition for long-serving KFC Mini-Cricket volunteers

CRICKET SOUTH AFRICA (CSA) has given recognition to 14 coaches who have been serving KFC Mini-Cricket for at least 20 years.

The forthcoming 2017/18 season will see CSA and its popular development programme celebrate 35 years. KFC has been the driver of the initiative for the past seven years after taking over from biscuit brand, Bakers.

The veterans of the famous sporting programme joined an estimated 180 delegates at the Champagne Sport Resort in the Central Drakensberg for the annual KFC Mini-Cricket national seminar at the start of July.

Amongst those that have been recognised for their loyal service are three who have been part of the initiative since its inception way back in the 1982-83 season.

They are Bernice Foster (Western Province), Daphne Nel (Boland) and Ahmad Shabir Khan (KZN).

The other 11 are Betty Mustapha (Northern Cape), Tshazibane Gcinikhaya (Kei), Raymond Avontuur (SWD), Lulama Mjo (Border), Walter Fredericks (Eastern Province), Angela Cilliers (KZN Inland), Wenda Knipe (Johannesburg), Jessica Mochitele (Limpopo), Annah Ngwenya (Easterns), Phaline Rammile (Free State) and Sharlene Adonis (Northerns).

“These men and women deserve enormous praise for the valuable time they sacrifice and dedicate to grow the game of cricket in South Africa,” CSA Chief Executive, Haroon Lorgat, said. “They have given so much for the game and deserve nothing but special praise.

“Some of them have been involved since the early days of Mini-Cricket and to see them still involved 35 years later is incredible. Together with those involved for 20, 25 or 30 years, they deserve acknowledgment and need to be valued by their communities.

“None of them do it for praise or rewards, it is for the pure love of the game and we thank them for the amazing service they have given to the game of cricket.”

Speaking at the annual KFC seminar, former CSA president, Ray Mali, also showered praise on these long-serving members of the programme.

“Twenty-five and 35 years of service to the development of the game is something special,” he said. “Those volunteers must be brought closer to the cricket community because it shows the amount of love and passion they have for the game.

“I’ve seen a lot of programmes like this in Australia and in England, so I believe we are on the right track towards building a strong sound base for future cricketers in this country.”

Ahmad Shabir Khan is one of those rare individuals who has been part of Mini-Cricket since it was launched all those years ago.

He started out in Phoenix, north of Durban, and has now moved to Newlands, which is closer to the city, where he is the local KFC Mini-Cricket co-ordinator. He is in charge of the fixtures and of the entire programme in the region.

“It was the first time I attended one of these KFC Mini-Cricket seminars and it was a fantastic experience,” Khan added. “I never expected an award, so to receive one is really humbling and I think it has given me further incentive to continue my involvement with the programme for another 20 years.”

“The programme has grown on the cricket pitch but it is also with delight to reveal the significant progress off the pitch as well. To date, the KFC Mini-Cricket programme has 9 000 KFC Mini-Cricket volunteer coaches that continue to invest time and energy in building the children up. We thank them for their commitment to ensuring that the kids are active, and are learning vital life skills such as discipline and confidence. They are truly the heartbeat of the programme,” said KFC Africa Public Affairs Director Thabisa Mkhwanazi.

KFC Mini-Cricket has witnessed over 2.5-million kids participate in the programme over the years.

It has been instrumental in producing players for the various national teams, including South Africa U/19, Momentum Proteas, South Africa ‘A’ and the Standard Bank Proteas.