Hitting a six for Youth Day, as Massondale Farm children learn the joy of cricket

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In an era where technology reigns, playgrounds are becoming a thing of the past with children opting for video games and social media.

Yet, there are children who don’t have the opportunity to use video games and social media as a form of entertainment. Children who live in the rural outskirts of town.

On Saturday, June 15, KFC Mini Cricket SA together with the KZN Inland Cricket Union, Newcastle Committee and Coaches made their way to Massondale Farm. An area situated between Madadeni and oSizweni.

Situated in a deeply rural area with gravel roads, which has limited vehicle access, Massondale Farm is a sparsely populated area which came alive when the cricket bats and balls came out.

“The day was to launch and introduce mini cricket to the children in the township,” says KFC Mini-Cricket Coach, Rishi Nanan.

With soccer being the predominant sport in the area, Rishi says the day focused on educating children on cricket and teaching them how to play in a wide-open field.

The joy of the children was evident, with each of the youngster immersing themselves into the game.

“We even had a herd of cows transgress our field during coaching,” Rishi laughs.

Planning to coach 50 children, Rishi and his team were thrilled when 10 to 15 more children came to join. Along with parents and community members joining in the day’s fun, the training programme became a true community-based initiative.

Adding to the fact that children were enjoying a long weekend, celebrating Youth Day, the training programme saw cricket come out of the schoolyard and make its way onto the playground, uniting the children in the name of fun.

“All the children were rewarded with t-shirts and cricket equipment was handed over to a community member, Andrew Mthombeni,” says Rishi.

Rishi explains Andrew is actively involved with the children in the area and will be assisting them in developing their cricket skills.

Lunch packs were sponsored by Shane Burger, a former KZN Inland Coach who now emigrated to Scotland as National Head Coach, and Kurt Mannikam, a former KZN Inland Player now playing abroad for English County Cricket. “A special thank you goes out to both of them,” says Rishi.

With laughter filling the air, the children truly enjoyed the training programme whilst learning a new sport.

But why is introducing children to cricket so important?

“We are trying to expose children from a very young age (boys and girls) to cricket. This is so they can have fun, love and learn the sport and see further subsequent developments in the game of cricket. They felt very nervous at first, but I introduced some fun elements into the training drills that they enjoyed. From there, children from 6 years old felt confident in holding a cricket bat.”

KFC Mini Cricket Coach Rishi Nanan showing children how to hold a cricket bat.

While facing challenges in infrastructure and a language barrier, Rishi and the KFC Minic Cricket SA team are confident cricket will start to grow within the Massondale Farm community.

Well done to KFC Mini Cricket SA, KZN Inland Cricket Union, the committee and coaches for sacrificing their weekend to plant the seed of cricket.

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