Cape Town - The Gary Kirsten Foundation (GKF) opened a R4.5 million artificial turf in Khayelitsha on Friday, which will be part of a Centre of Cricket Excellence at Chris Hani Secondary School.
"Five years ago I visited Khayelitsha on a fact-finding mission and I was shocked not to find one sports field in the township. It became my mission to establish first class facilities that would give kids an equal chance at the game of cricket," said Kirsten.
"In two years, I look forward to Chris Hani’s U-19 team playing against a privileged school on this world-class field, then we have created equal opportunities."
In partnership with the then-headmaster of Chris Hani Secondary School, Madoda Mahlutshana, the first nets were built in Khayelitsha.
Five years on, under the auspices of the Gary Kirsten Foundation, 400 children play cricket regularly at five school locations under the guidance of eight employed GKF coaches, where outdoor nets have been installed.
A strong women’s team is also emerging and some girls have reached provincial representation.
Kirsten said the funds have been raised for the complete Centre of Cricket Excellence, and construction will start on the indoor centre in May this year.
"This will allow the Gary Kirsten Foundation to create a world-class hub for township cricket in the region and serve the surrounding community, there will be three indoor lanes, an office and communal spaces," he added.
"Many cricketers from Khayelitsha and other townships have been identified and given scholarships and bursaries to attend privileged schools, but they are displaced from their communities. I have a vision for local cricketers to remain in their communities, and excel at the game with support and expertise."