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PHOTO: supplied  Tshiamo Lebeloane is one of the Sunfoil Education Trust bursary holders. He attends Cornwall Hill School in Irene, Gauteng.

PHOTO: supplied Tshiamo Lebeloane is one of the Sunfoil Education Trust bursary holders. He attends Cornwall Hill School in Irene, Gauteng.

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A RECORD R850 000 was raised for Willowton Group’s Sunfoil Education Trust during the Sunfoil Test series between South Africa and England, giving promising township players the life-changing chance of a cricketing career through its growing bursary scheme.

Although South Africa did not win the series, batsmen from both teams raised this amount by notching up

R1 000 for every four hit, R2 000 for every six hits and R2 500 for every wicket taken in the four-match test series. The Trust is funded in this way at every home Sunfoil Test series.

Top earners for England were Ben Stokes, Joe Root and Jonathan Bairstow while South Africa’s top scorers were Hashim Amla, Kagiso Rabada and Temba Bavuma.

This brings the total to over R3 million raised for the Sunfoil Education Trust since its inception six years ago. Over the past five years, the Trust has provided full bursaries for 16 promising young township cricketers, enabling them to attend leading schools.

“We felt that to give talented township players a real chance to forge a career in the sport, intensive cricket training would need to go hand in hand with a good education, hence the formation of the trust,” said Shoaib Moosa, chief commercial officer for Willowton Group, manufacturers of Sunfoil cooking oil.

“Our long-term goal is to create cricket stars of the future, but for those who don’t make it into the top echelons of the sport, the bursaries equip them to go on to forge successful careers in other fields, while making cricket an important part of their lives.

“Either way, the Sunfoil Education Trust bursary programme empowers deserving youngsters to change their lives for the better.”

The bursaries cover school fees, uniforms and hostel costs. There are currently 16 Sunfoil bursary recipients at schools throughout South Africa, from Glenwood High in Durban, Somerset College in Cape Town and Hudson Park High in East London to Cornwall Hill College in Gauteng, Louis Botha Technical High in Bloemfontein, Upington High and Kimberley Boys’ High.

The bursary recipients are identified through the Sunfoil Township Cricket development programme, a year-round coaching scheme for disadvantaged youngsters which includes national tournaments.

Those who show the most potential are selected for the Sunfoil development squads, allowing them to compete against some of the best cricketing schools in their province. The outstanding players become eligible for the Sunfoil Education Trust bursaries, making it possible for them to attend respected schools, where continuous cricket coaching is combined with their academic studies.

“This provides a structured environment for them to develop their sporting talent while gaining a solid academic education,” said Moosa.

Tshiamo Lebeloane (15) is one of the Sunfoil bursary holders who attends Cornwall Hill in Irene, Gauteng. He is an accomplished cricketer who has been selected for the Northerns team since he was U12 and is one of the youngest members of Cornwall’s first cricket team.

After initially battling academically, he was enrolled on the school’s learning support programme and given extra tutoring and is now coping well with his studies. He is grateful to Sunfoil for giving him this chance to change his life for the better.

Tshiamo said he loves playing cricket and the life at Cornwall Hill School where he has joined his older brother. He hopes to improve his cricket so that when he is finished school he can one day play for South Africa.

“Cricket is fortunate to have superb sponsors like Sunfoil, who have shown their desire to be involved in the broader society and not just cricket. Their willingness to invest in the future of our talented young children is beyond measure and has to be applauded,” said CSA chief executive, Haroon Lorgat.

“Willowton Group’s support of cricket starts at grassroots level, identifying promising children who have had few advantages and giving them the chance of a better life,” Moosa said. –Supplied

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