TSHWANE: Cricket South Africa (CSA) celebrated the latest intake of the CSA National Academy programme featuring both men’s and women’s squads on Tuesday evening at the Centre of Excellence (COE) in Tshwane, as this year’s Youth Month marks the return of the full winter camp since the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a crucial part of the CSA High-Performance pipeline, the National Academy consists of two squads selected on an in-depth performance standard focused on South Africa Under-19 graduates and rising stars from provincial and domestic cricket.

This year’s winter programme got underway on 01 May when the men’s squad, guided by SA U19 Men’s head coach Malibongwe Maketa, gathered for the start of their three month, off-season stint. Meanwhile, the women’s squad got together at the start of June under the tutelage of SA U19 Women’s mentor, Dinesha Devnarain.

The two National Academy camps will now take place simultaneously before concluding at the end of July, with the players returning to their respective domestic sides to complete their pre-season preparations while working towards realizing their Proteas dream.

Throughout their time at the National Academy, the players will be put through rigorous skills, tactical, physical and medical assessments to provide holistic and individualized development in line with the expectations of international cricket.

As part of an exchange agreement between CSA and ICC Africa, the South African men’s academy players were joined by youngsters from Nigeria, Uganda and Tanzania, respectively, in Adbulmumuni Taiwo Mohammed, Cosmas Kyewuta and Mohamed Omary Kitunda.

During a celebratory evening on Tuesday, the CSA National Academy’s ‘ Class of 2023’ received their official caps in front of guests, as they joined a list of Academy alumni such as Proteas Women’s Marizanne Kapp, Chloė Tryon and Ayabonda Khaka along with Aiden Markram, Lungi Ngidi and Heinrich Klaasen from the Proteas Men.

Speaking at the capping ceremony, Women’s National Academy head coach Devnarain commented:

“First and foremost, we are very grateful to have the National Academy again after COVID, so it has been a while since we have had a winter programme like this and it is very important with programmes like this, to sustain the national programme and bridge the gap and expose players to another level of professionalism.

“The group of players are very exciting because we have a mix of SA U19 players, we’ve got the ten high-performance players and we’ve got some really good provincial players in there so it’s a mix of different age groups, which is good,” Devnarain continued.

“What best characterizes them is that some of them have had the taste of national cricket and they are going to use a programme like this to try and cement a spot up top and for the SA U19 girls, their learning continues from where we left off from the World Cup.

“The objectives of the camp are pretty simple, you want to leave the players in a better space, from a strength and conditioning point of view, technically, tactically, mentally and definitely from an analytical point of view, which is a segment that we are pushing hard in this national camp and I am looking forward to that,” she added.

Maketa, the Men’s National Academy head coach said:

“The programme has been great (thus far), to say the least. We believe we’ve got the best young players in the country and have grabbed the opportunity with both hands when it comes to hard work and dedication to the programme.

“The players have been brilliant and have shown great improvements in a short space of time, which is quite pleasing for all of us.

“The biggest characteristic of most South Africans, especially young guys who are looking to make the step up, is hard work and dedication. That is what we have in this group and now it is about us making sure that they understand the sequences of learning, how to train smarter and how to train to improve, in terms of setting up their programmes, not only in the nets but also in the gym, how to go about their diet and how to manage their bodies so that they can recover and perform at their best.

“We look at the whole spectrum of their careers and make sure we tap into those spaces because we know the talent is there, the only thing that we are really looking to focus on is the small percentage that really takes them to the next level,” Maketa continued.

Liam Alder (Dafabet Warriors), Matthew Boast (Momentum Multiply Titans), Okuhle Cele (Momentum Multiply Titans), Michael Copeland (Gbets Rocks), Jordan Hermann (Dafabet Warriors), Duan Jansen (North West Dragons), Valentine Kitime (Gbets Rocks), Andile Mokgakane (AET Tuskers), Siya Plaatjie (Dafabet Warriors), Josh Richards (DP World Lions), Caleb Seleka (North West Dragons), Andile Simelane (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Musa Twala (Momentum Multiply Titans), Mitchell van Buuren (DP World Lions), Nealan van Heerden (ITEC Knights), George van Heerden (Gbets Rocks), Adbulmumuni Taiwo Mohammed (Nigeria), Cosmas Kyewuta (Uganda) Mohamed Omary Kitunda (Tanzania)

Andrie Steyn (Six Gun Grill Western Province), Nondumiso Shangase (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Nobulumko Baneti (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Raisibe Ntozakhe (DP World Lions), Janė Winster (Six Gun Grill Garden Route Badgers), Mieke De Ridder (Six Gun Grill Garden Route Badgers), Tebogo Macheke (Fidelity Titans), Micaėla Andrews (Six Gun Grill Garden Route Badgers), Annerie Dercksen (Six Gun Grill Garden Route Badgers), Leah Jones (Six Gun Grill Western Province), Oluhle Siyo (DP World Lions), Asakhe Nyovane (Six Gun Grill Garden Route Badgers), Jenna Evans (DP World Lions), Eliz-Mari Marx (Fidelity Titans), Ayanda Hlubi (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Refilwe Moncho (DP World Lions).

Audio featuring CSA National Academy Men’s head coach Malibongwe Maketa and CSA National Academy Women’s head coach, Dinesha Devnarain may be downloaded here.

For any media queries;
Lita Gqirana – CSA Media Specialist
Email: litag@cricket.co.za
Cel No.: 076 503 9655

Issued by: Cricket South Africa – Corporate Communications

Cricket South Africa (CSA), an affiliate of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and a full member of the International Cricket Council (ICC), is the national governing body for the sport of cricket in South Africa and administers all aspects of South African cricket, men, and women, both in the professional and amateur sphere.