Cricket is more than a mere sport. It is a lifestyle which paths the way to valuable life lessons on the road to success.
In paving the way to a successful journey in the cricket world, introducing children to the joys of sportsmanship and cricket itself, the KFC Mini-Cricket programme is the very foundation stone to many children’s cricket careers.
From Friday, May 10, to Saturday, May 11, a KFC Mini Cricket coaching clinic was held at Suryaville Primary School. The two-day clinic focused on teaching children the basics, as well as the coaches from their respective schools.
“My wife, Nashreen, and I initially did the coaching ourselves and we decided to invite professionals from KZN Cricket Inlands to do drills with the children and the coaches.”
These two professional players from KZN Inland Kurtlyn Mannikum and Sohail Mahmoud, are two men who are leaving their mark on the cricket world. But why do they see initiatives such as the coaching clinic so important?
“For us, it is important to be a part of initiatives such as this as a lot of players don’t get to experience cricket at a grass root level,” says Kurtlyn.
Furthermore, Kurtlyn says programmes such as this give children something to work for. “It is always good to have goals and something to work towards and practice for.”
Through projects such as this, the two pros can introduce an entirely new facet of cricket to school children and their teachers.
“Cricket can open several opportunities to children. They can get scholarships and it keeps them off the street. Through cricket, Kurtlyn and I who both come from small towns were able to go to Pietermaritzburg Boys College.”
Kurtlyn and Sohail hail from Ladysmith and Estcourt respectively, Kurtlyn concurs with Sohail. “We are now able to train with the best coaches as they chase their dreams in bigger cities.
Why do they feel it is important to work closely with school coaches?
“It is important, as they can help produce good cricketers,” Sohail emphasises. He elaborates by saying through school coaches having a better understanding of cricket, they can help the children flourish and reach their full potential.
This is done by instilling a love for the game, teaching the children about the fundamentals of the sports and helping them set up goals.
Rishi explains the coaching clinic saw approximately 60 children in attendance on Friday, with 12 teachers from various schools.
“The teachers who participated in the clinic will do an examination. If they pass, they will be qualified KFC Mini Cricket coaches and receive certificates from Cricket South Africa.”
Anwar Kaloo of Lennoxton Primary, says he found the clinic exceptionally exciting. “I have learned a lot and I am looking forward to passing it all on to the children,” he smiles.
Why does he think cricket plays an important role in children’s lives?
“Cricket teaches children life skills, how to socialise, keep fit and not to spend all day on social media.”
Ebonita Bianchina of Bright Beginnings Early Childhood Development Centre says she found the clinic just as informative.
“Cricket is ideal for children who can’t always excel in academics. Everything is fair on the cricket pitch and it allows children to develop, excel and know that they can really do their best and reach their full potential.”
With the clinic being enjoyed by both educators, children and players from KZN Inland Cricket, Rishi considers the two-day initiative a success and hopes to see it opening the doors for cricket to develop and flourish in Newcastle.