Township Cricket Saves Lives
The fourth annual Sunfoil Township Cricket Tournament took place in Kwazulu Natal in July and has left a lasting impression on the youth.
Over 400 township cricketers aged 13 to 19 had the chance to display their talent at the 4 day tournament which included an elaborate opening and closing ceremonies.
A number of high profile guests were in attendance at the tournament including MEC of Health Dr Sgongiseni Dhlomo, CSA Vice President, Mr AK Khan, MEC of Sport and Recreation, Mrs Weziwe Thusi and President of Gauteng Cricket, Mr Ray Mali.
The twist in the tournament programme this year, was the invitation to Gauteng Cricket to include a Soweto township team in the final day of the competition.
The two Sunfoil Township XI teams with Linda Zondi, Township Development Manager, for KZN Cricket Union and Shaoib Moosa from the Willowton Group
After the three days, an U15 and U19 Sunfoil Township XI from Kwazulu Natal, was chosen to show their might against Soweto’s best township teams.
The fact that the tournament now includes healthy competition against national township teams is testament to the growth of the programme, and the support it receives from the Willowton Group in developing cricket in South Africa.
Four years ago, family owned Willowton Group, one of South Africa’s largest sunflower seed crushers and leading manufacturer of edible oils and margarines, partnered with the KwaZulu Natal Cricket Union to develop the Sunfoil Township Cricket tournament.
The programme has grown from strength to strength with the objective of developing a cricket culture within townships and to encourage children from disadvantaged communities to become involved in a team sport.
The result is that currently there are 20 township teams that compete against each other all year round.
The participants are then invited to take part in the Sunfoil Township Tournament where their dream is to be noticed by selectors and selected into the squad.
But the grooming does not stop at selection.
It is just the beginning of hours of intense training, hard work, and commitment from the boys. As players of the elite squad, they are offered extra coaching every Saturday morning, 365 days a year. They are also invited to a attend a number of cricket camps at Sahara Stadium, Kingsmead where they receive advanced coaching on fitness and mental preparation.
To be apart of the elite Sunfoil squads, means that the teams are able to compete against top KZN cricket schools. Earlier this year, the Sunfoil Township teams showed their skill in winning matches against some of KZN’s finest schools. The u14A and u19 Sunfoil team won against Hillcrest and the U15A Sunfoil side beat Clifton to name but a few successes.
23 session coaches are appointed, who provide coaching in the township regions for a period of four months prior to the tournament and after the tournament.
Willowton Group hopes to unite the children through the game of cricket and show them that they can rise above any circumstance with the right attitude. Perseverance and hard work makes any dream achievable and this tournament teaches them just that. Empowering children through sport is just one of the ways Willowton Group hopes to uplift the community. .
Another successful Sunfoil Township Tournament took place in December 2010 at the Cato Manor sports fields. An advertorial appeared in the Natal Mercury on February 17 on the tournament and our Township Programme.