Mondli Khumalo and Thamsanqa Khumalo who are both products of the KZNCU, Department of Sports and Recreation and Sunfoil Township and Rural Development Programme, have been included in the Coca-Cola South Africa under-19 squad which will tour England in July this year.
“This is such a huge achievement for the boys,” says Sanelisiwe Kuzwayo, manager of the programme. “Moreover, it is a huge achievement for our programme and bears testament to the fact that we are producing results.”
She also praised the rural and township coaches who were instrumental in introducing the pair to cricket and honing their skills. “Our coaches work tirelessly, and in addition to coaching, they also play a mentorship role in the lives of our cricketers – this is a proud moment for them too.”
Mondli (16) who hails from Umlazi also represented SA under 19 last September in a triangular series in Potchefstroom, featuring Namibia and England.
However, this his first international outing. “I’m excited but at the same time I’m shaking,” he says. “This is my first trip overseas and I’ll be representing my country overseas. It’s going to be a challenge for me to understand the conditions away from home – this is going to be a big thing for me.”
His interest in cricket was first sparked in 2012, when he saw his cousin playing for Umlazi Cricket Club. He joined sessions hosted by the development programme at his school Zimisele Primary, and was soon invited to elite sessions in Umlazi. Mondli’s talent prompted Glenwood Preparatory School to offer him a bursary which he took up during his grade seven year. From there it was onto Maritzburg College – also on a bursary – where he is currently in grade 11.
Township and rural development coach, Sandile Simelane, who has worked with Mondli from the outset, says his achievement is richly deserved: “His persistence, perseverance and talent have got him to where he is,” he says. “He has been performing in the various age groups, representing KZN under 13 B and A and then the KZN Inland under 15 A side from where he went straight onto Coke Week.”
Thamsanqa – who is from Ntuzuma – began playing cricket at the age of eight.
“He came to me when we were coaching at his school,” says his first coach, Zamani Mfusi. “I’m very happy for him – he worked hard and has wanted to make the SA side for a long time.”
The eighteen year old batting allrounder represented KZN schools at under 13 A, under 15 A and under 17 A level before moving onto Coke Week.
He is currently in matric at Glenwood High School, thanks to a Sunfoil Education Trust (SET) bursary, made possible by the Willowton Group. Thamsanqa is the second SET bursary recipient who will wear SA colours, the first being Andile Mogakane who made the SA under 19 squad last year.
“We are really excited about having played a role in Thamsanqa making the national under 19 team,” says Willown Group CEO, Zubair Moosa. “The SET program is clearly delivering on its objectives as over the year’s we have seen our bursary students graduating from university with degrees, making age group provincial teams, and now a second recipient going all the way to the Under 19 National Team.”
“We wish Mondli and Thamsanqa everything of the best,” says Khuzwayo. “It’s a big moment for them, and we hope they play to the best to their ability and enjoy the experience. From here on – the sky is the limit for them!”
The SA under 19 tour to England will include two four-day Youth Test matches and three Youth One-Day Internationals.
by Fatima Asmal