Colourful scenes dominated Sukuma Road in uMlazi’s M Section, Amanzimtoti Road in Kwa Mashu and the parking lot of the Chatsworth Cricket Oval this week, as 120 kids from each of these communities were introduced to street cricket.
The initiative is organised by a non-profit organisation, the Sporting Chance Foundation, in conjunction with cricket hubs in each of the areas.
“It involves 120 kids per community, divided into twenty teams who compete in a series of six-a-side fixtures for six weeks,” explained Bradlyn Stuurman, project manager at the Sporting Chance Foundation. “This culminates in a regional final which will be played at the Kingsmead Cricket Stadium, hopefully as a curtain-raiser before a big game there.”
Stuurman said the aim of the programme is to highlight the importance of children keeping physically active.
Darryl Govender, head coach of the Chatsworth hub, welcomed the initiative. “It has been a great initiative for all involved,” he said. “It allows the kids to play a cricket game that is full of excitement and action on every ball and allows the parents and coaches to watch the kids play a game that used to be a big part of their childhood.”
“It has been great fun – everyone has really come on board and every run has been cheered and the games have been very close. The shirts, the equipment and general joyful attitude have added to the fun and excitement of street cricket,” he added.
“It has a meant a tremendous amount to the kids. Having the opportunity to represent your community and being able to play a sport you love is always a positive and the kids have responded really well to the street cricket programme.”
In Kwa Mashu, Sandile Hlongwa, head coach of the INK (Inanda, Ntuzuma and Kwa Mashu) hub faced a few challenges, in getting the road cordoned off but is looking forward to a smoother second week, whilst Xolani Gasa, the uMlazi Hub head coach is excited about the proceedings thus far. “We are putting cricket to the community – as coaches we usually only coach at the schools but when we are playing in the streets like this, the community can see what is happening.” – Fatima Asmal