Rural Cricket

Rural Cricket




The University of Fort Hare (UFH), Cricket South Africa (CSA) together with Border Cricket (BC), have identified a need to develop the tremendous potential in and around the Alice Rural area within the Border region. Subsequently, a partnership was formed to run a Joint Venture (JV) Cricket Academy at the University of Fort Hare situated in the rural town of Alice in the Eastern Cape.


Caption: UFH Academy players

The JV Rural Cricket Academy Programme made up of two sections as follows:

1. Junior Cricket Programme
2. Senior Cricket Programme


The “JV Cricket Committee” was formed in order to oversee and monitor the implementation of the JV Academy Programme. This committee has personnel representing each organisation – University of Fort Hare (Infrastructure and Academic support), CSA (Programme, Funding and Specialists support) and Border Cricket (Coaches, Volunteers and Players).


Fort Hare University now boasts a state of the art Indoor Cricket Complex with 4 cricket nets and offices worth (R7 million), The main cricket oval was also upgraded (4 middle pitches with sight screens, change rooms, a junior cricket field, shed for machinery, and trees planted around the oval) The venue now enjoys “First Class Status” thanks to CSA, National Lottery Board and the Department of Sport & Recreation.

Objective of the JV Cricket Academy Programme

The main objective of the JV Rural Academy Programme is the crucial advancement of Black African cricketers through a well organised setup under a controlled environment to contribute positively to the CSA development pipeline. The programme also affords us an opportunity to groom Coaches, Match Officials and Ground staff.

Junior Cricket Academy Programme

Talent Identification

This involves a vigorous talent identification process in order to identify the very top under 9 to 19 schoolboys and girls from the outlying Rural areas of Alice, Middledrift and Healdtown / Fort Beaufort (Hub programme system operated in each town). The talent identification process takes place under the supervision of the Fort Hare, CSA and Border Cricket officials in order to ensure transparency and uniformity which takes several days to complete.

The mass participation programme, Mini Cricket, plays a significant role in introducing the basic skills to the participants. The participants with potentials skills are identified for the JV Rural Junior Academy, where their cricket skills are enhanced.


Caption: Players hoping to earn a place at the CSA Fort Hare University Academy, during the Orientation and Skills Assessment day at University of Fort Hare

Coaching Programme

1. Regional Coaching Hubs x 3 (Alice, Middledrift, Fort Beaufort)

The identified cricketers are placed in “Regional Coaching Hubs” near to where they live where they receive coaching from the Hub coaches and volunteer coaches on a weekly basis.

2. Specialised Coaching Sessions (Bi-Monthly Coaching Sessions at Fort Hare)

The top under 9 to 19 players are transported to Fort Hare “Krish Mackerdhuj Indoor Centre” bi-monthly, in order to receive “Specialised Coaching” under the watchful eye of Mfuneko Ngam and the 3 Border Hub Coaches. These take place in the afternoon during the week.

3. Two Day Winter Coaching Camps

During the winter these cricketers are once again transported to the Krish Mackerdhuj Indoor Cricket Complex to attend “2 day camps”, where they get accommodated overnight and affords an opportunity to coaches to spend more time with the cricketers. The Senior Academy cricketers (CSA Fort Hare bursary recipients) play a huge role in helping with coaching during these 2 day Camps as part of the process of “giving back to the game of cricket” for the opportunity presented to them.

4. Inter Hub Fixtures (Alice, Middledrift & Fort Beaufort Regions)

These are inter region cricket matches “Inter Hub” – U11, 13, 15 and 19 age groups.

5. Saturday Cricket Fixtures

The U11 and U13 top cricketers from the programme are now also involved in Saturday fixtures against top schools like Selborne, Dale and Queen’s, however, finances to maintain these games remains a huge challenge.


Caption: Official Opening of the new Scoreboard

6. Bursaries at Top Schools

Presently we have no less than 13 young cricketers from the rural programme who are at Dale and Hudson Park schools on Cricket / Educational Bursaries. It is hoped that these cricketers once they leave school, will then feed into the “Senior Academy” at University of Fort Hare to study and at the same time further enhance their cricket skills (“the aim is to produce individuals that can serve both business and sporting world”).

Senior Cricket Academy

In 2009 Cricket South Africa, University Fort Hare and Border Cricket embarked on a Joint Venture project to give 10 cricketers a chance to improve their cricketing skills and at the same time providing them with an opportunity to study after leaving school. The JV Senior Rural Academy now encompasses 17 cricketers (3 females and 14 males) who receive bursary assistance and join the programme for a period of 3 years (estimated time to complete a degree) following their academic and cricketing achievements at school level.

The cricket curriculum for the JV Senior Cricket Academy will include the following:

1. Team Building

Each year the squad go on a team building outing in order to build team spirit and for the cricketers and coaching staff to get to know one another better.

2. Life Skills Programme

The Life Skills programme includes topics such as – Drug & Alcohol Abuse; HIV & Aids; Financial Planning; Social Skills and General Etiquette; Monthly One on One Sessions with Life Skills Coach (Personal Development)

3. Fitness Programme / Nutrition / Cooking Class

Each individual cricketer receives a free “Gym Contract” and is put on a specific fitness programme. Nandile Tyali (“Strength & Conditioning Coach at the Academy – whom is also a product of this programme and is now employed by CSA after he completed his degree in Human Science Movements) strictly monitors their progress. Injury prevention is also covered.

Added to the programme is a “Nutrition / Diet” sessions as well as “Practical Cooking” sessions as the cricketers also learn the “life skill” of cooking. They cook for themselves at the Cricket Hostel where they are all accommodated.

4. Specialist Coaching / Training Sessions

Although the Academy cricketers train most days in order to up skill their talents, the following additional sessions are held with the help of “Specialist Consultants”

– Batting
– Fast Bowling
– Spin Bowling
– General Cricket Awareness
– Mental Toughness

5. Cricket Matches / Tournaments

The cricketers are exposed to the follow level of competition whilst they are at the Academy:

– Fort Hare affiliates cricket teams in the Border Cricket Club league. The first XI players in the Premier league and has an opportunity to qualify for the National Club Championships if they win the league.

– Friendly cricket matches against various opposition during the winter academy period
– Warriors Franchise Inter – Quadrangular vs SWD, Border, EP Academies
– Coastal Academy Week vs WP, Boland, EP, SWD & Border Academies
– University Students SA Cricket Week against other varsities.
– Individual players selected can represent Border Cricket in the CSA Senior Provincial league (Semi Professional) and SA Rural league

6. Equipment and Clothing

All equipment and clothing is supplied for this programme.

Measurement of Success

Senior Cricket Academy

Since the JV Senior Cricket Academy inception 5 years ago (2009 – 2014), there are 15 male cricketers who have come through the Academy who are presently playing Semi Proffessional Provincial cricket for the various CSA Affiliates; 2 female cricketers in the Momentum Proteas Women’s Set-up and 8 students who successfully completed their degrees or diplomas.

The Feeder pipeline includes academic opportunities

– The “Junior Rural Programme” will identify, train and equip and eventually feed the top young cricketers into traditional cricket playing schools such as Dale & Queen’s College – schools with wonderful facilities which offer more opportunities. The schools would then assist in polishing these raw talent and once they have matriculated, these cricketers would then feed back into the “JV Senior Academy” programme (Cricket & Educational bursaries to study “Degrees or Diplomas”)

– From the “JV Senior Academy” to play Semi Professional Provincial Cricket

– From Semi Professional level to Professional cricket within the Franchise system

– From Professional Franchise team ultimately to represent their country, South Africa for the Proteas Cricket Team, whilst having obtained a degree or diploma.