Local cricket club invests in learners of four schools

2020-02-11 06:00
Vice chair, Riyaad Gamieldien (taking selfie); club captain, Shafwaan Doutie; u.14 captain Carl Damon; the late Dr Johann Mets; vice captain, Sherwin Mei and chair, Ashraf Allie.

Vice chair, Riyaad Gamieldien (taking selfie); club captain, Shafwaan Doutie; u.14 captain Carl Damon; the late Dr Johann Mets; vice captain, Sherwin Mei and chair, Ashraf Allie.

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The cricket coaching programmes by the Fish Rite Hanover Park Cricket Club at Blomvlei, Morgenson, Summit and Athwood primary schools in Hanover Park has been going strong since 2016.

“We identified the four specific schools for now and our intention is to do the entire area. Due to budget constraints and a lack of proper support by various stakeholders, we are currently only busy with them. Since 2016 we’ve coached more than 1 500 learners,” says Ashraf Allie, chair of the cricket club.

The club’s focus is on mass participation and as they develop and grow the learners, some are moved into different teams.

“We have an annual quad 6-a-side tournament between the schools with great success and the demand is so high that from next term we’re going to host mini-cricket every Wednesday for those in the age group of 6 to 9 years old. This is to allow them to transition from being introduced to the game, to eventually love the game and start playing hard ball cricket,” he says.

There is a massive need to allow our youth (boys and girls) to play sport and despite football, netball and other cultural activities taking place we still see many youth that are not on the sports field.

“Madiba said it himself, sport and education works hand in hand and in fact he included business to play its part. This is a message I would like to drive home and kindly appeal to our many corporates and private business owners out there, to continue to consider organisations like ours as we implement real life interventions with low budgets and at times with no budgets.”

The schools are already under tremendous pressure to provide academic facilities, according to Allie. The club hopes to place the focus on sport, too. “These programmes and sponsorships, donations and fundraisers helped us arrange two overseas tours for the community of Hanover Park and others on the Cape Flats (one in April 2017 to Qatar with 23 soccer boys of Cape Flats Sports Academy, an u.14 team with seven management and 14 cricket players in August 2019 to the UK,” Allie says.

Besides the cricket and soccer coaching, the club helps facilitate donations for the schools’ feeding schemes and also with the provision of stationery.

“The two organisations I lead (Fish Rite Hanover Park Cricket Club, as chair and Cape Flats Sports Academy, as CEO) together with dedicated other office bearers and management are both non-profit and public benefit organisations, so we have good and proper corporate governances in place,” he says.

“It would be wrong of me to not mention certain companies and charities that have come on board, which should be used as a yardstick for others to kindly consider partnering with us. These organisations, are Snoek Wholesalers under the retail brand Fish Rite and its owner Robert Zive who doubles as patron of the club, charity organisations such as Awqaf SA, Islamic Relief SA, Mustadafin Foundation and SANZAF among a few others. “Private individuals are also sponsoring and some choosing to remain anonymous. One such individual was the late Johann Mets, who while alive wanted us to make it known that he is the ‘Old Cricketer’ who basically kick-started our tour and the pending tour of a group of u.14 cricketers from Birmingham. We will be hosting them from Sunday 16 February to Tuesday 25 February,” he says.

Mets decided to help the boys and the club, as he also toured overseas when he was their age and he remembered the impact it had on him. He peacefully passed away on 12 December last year, Allie says.

Jeannette Christians, daughter of Mets, said her dad loved cricket and he knew it takes time to develop a cricketer, both in the sport and as an individual.

“You cannot separate the two, the sport requires honesty, humility and consideration for others, never mind the physical aspects of honing skills through disciplined and hard practice. These are all attributes that are invaluable to develop in youngsters to lay a solid base for adulthood,” she says.

Christians further adds that from an early an age, her father was fortunate enough to be nurtured and encouraged in his cricket by her grandfather, other adults and later his own friends, and experienced decades of friendship and sheer fun playing the game and watching it. It opened doors for him that he probably would not have entered, but brought many wonderful people into his life and gave him so much joy.

“I think that he saw a small way to contribute to the development of youngsters whose passionate elders and leaders needed some assistance in nurturing these young sportsmen and women into the ‘love and life of cricket’ and all that this encompasses. He would have so enjoyed attending one of their cricket games with the Birmingham Bulls arriving on Saturday,” Christians says.


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