Bakers to quit SA cricket

Johannesburg - AVI group company National Brands has announced that after 27 years of sponsorship, its biscuit brand Bakers would no longer be sponsoring the Bakers Mini-Cricket programme when its contract with Cricket South Africa (CSA) expires in June. 

This is a mutual parting of the ways. Popular and loved by schools and primary school children countrywide, the Bakers Mini-Cricket programme has spawned some of the country’s best known cricket stars including Shaun Pollock, Mark Boucher and Makhaya Ntini.

Bakers Mini-Cricket is the longest running developmental sports programme in Southern Africa with over 100 000 primary school children from over 5 000 schools annually taking part in the programme.

Initiated by Dr Ali Bacher, then Managing Director of the South African Cricket Union - and with Bakers as sponsor, the progamme was designed to bring together young children of all races to play cricket together in a structured environment that promoted racial harmony and healthy relationships.

CSA CEO, Gerald Majola, said: “Over the past 27 years, we have together pioneered the way for children, boys and girls, from all communities to gain entry into the game through Bakers Mini Cricket.

“Administrators and coaches have also been introduced to the game in this way and have paved the way for children to have fun and to progress into first-class players.

“There has been an accelerated growth of cricket in South Africa and CSA wants to harness this growth in terms of our strategic plan for South African cricket in the future.”

“The expansion of the game, with mini cricket at the heart, is essential to this strategic plan. Consequently, we have secured a long-term partnership with a major international brand to assist with mini cricket in this regard and an announcement will be forthcoming soon.”

“History will record the critical role that Bakers has played in developing South African cricket to this point, and CSA will always be grateful for this.”

David Hood, Managing Director of Bakers said, “We have partnered with Cricket in South Africa for almost 27 years and of course it’s hard for us all at Bakers not to feel somewhat emotional when saying goodbye to a programme that  is the heartbeat of young cricket players, and part of our lives, for so long.”  

“We will always look back proudly on our association with CSA, the very committed coaches and administrators and of course the young cricketers themselves.”

Hood said that Bakers wished Cricket South Africa every success with its plans for the future of the Mini Cricket programme, and he hoped that the programme would continue to benefit school children as it has done over the past 27 years.

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