Budding cricketers, coaches and supporters in the Eastern Cape township of Mdantsane were given a surprise visit from the Standard Bank Proteas on Sunday. Proteas players and coaches arrived at the Mdantsane Hub for an unexpected coaching clinic with more than 40 male and female junior cricketers from the region, with the community also having an opportunity for a meet and greet with their heroes.
The Proteas are in town preparing for the first KFC T20 International against Zimbabwe at Buffalo Park on Tuesday, and took the initiative to give back to the community.
“It is important for us as Proteas to use every opportunity that we can to get closer to our supporters and the next generation of cricketers,” Proteas assistant coach, Malibongwe Maketa said. “For the young players to be coached by some of their heroes will not only feed their passion but it will inspire the players to continue putting the hard work into their cricket and their futures.
“I am from this area so it is even more special to come back here with the Proteas to try and make a difference,” he explained. “ I remember being as eager and as enthusiastic as some of the players we saw today, it is a big deal for them. There is a rich cricket history in the Eastern Cape and I’m sure there will be many future Proteas coming from this hub.”
The Standard Bank Regional Performance Centres (RPC) and Hubs have become important feeder systems for Cricket South Africa’s youth cricket structures and continue to unearth new talent at grassroots level across the country. Proteas batsman, Christiaan Jonker, says the calibre of the talent on display on Sunday bodes well for the future of cricket in the region.
“I am very passionate about this part of the world,” Jonker keenly said. “ I play for Border at every opportunity that I can get and being back here with the Proteas is almost like coming full circle. It’s vital for us as national cricketers to take cricket to tall parts of the country, you never know which future Proteas we are inspiring just by being here. I am excited about the future of cricket in this area, there is a lot of work being put in the pipelines and we will no doubt see many Proteas coming from this area.”