In all, 124 players who represented South Africa (men and women), South Africa A and SA U19, got their first taste of cricket at the famous festival, said Johnny Philander, a consultant of Cricket South Africa (CSA) and a coordinator of coaching at the Mini-Cricket Festival.
Philander addressed 110 volunteer coaches from different parts of the Peninsula at a successful Western Province provincial seminar of the KFC Mini-Cricket Festival at PPC Newlands on Friday. The theme of this year’s seminar was “35 years of Mini Cricket.”
The seminar at PPC Newlands was attended by stalwarts like Shirley Davids, Berenice Fester, Lizo Skunana, Mario Botha, Ntombentsha Gcememe, Mark Khoabane and Clinton Du Preez.
Beresford Williams, president of the Western Province Cricket Association (WPCA), and Du Preez, manager: amateur cricket of WPCA, were amongst the speakers.
Rushdi Magiet, one of the founders of the Mini-Cricket Festival 35 years ago and the recipient of the CSA life-time achievement award, delivered the keynote-address.
Almost 120 000 young South Africans participated in the KFC Mini-Cricket Festivals during the past calendar year, remarked Philander.
Du Preez said currently there are 10 000 young players in the Western Province involved in the program.
The immediate aim is to increase those figures by between 10 and 20% annually. A growth by 5% would be too small, he added.
Fifteen Western Province KFC Mini-Cricket Festival coaches who had been involved as mentors to young cricketers since the start of the Festival 35 years ago, received awards at the provincial seminar on Friday.
Fester, Andile Mtambeka, Lindiwe Mnatheli, Leone Cioli, Zukswa Sikithi, Queenie Claasen, Ruth Bowles, Phumlani Godio, Chumani Kwezi, Mxolisi Matroos, Matthew Blaauw, Raymond Dampies, Fabri Jacobs, Mxolisi Boskat and Ezra Cagwe were the recipients.
Shirley Davids was voted the KFC Mini-Cricket Festival coordinator of the year.
Earlier, Magiet saluted the coaches of the KFC festival. He said they are indispensable and the life-blood of cricket in the country.
Magiet encouraged the coaches to continue their inspirational work without every becoming stale.
It was important to continuously improve their trade, he explained.
“The kids and the coaches are the heartbeat of the KFC Mini-cricket festivals,” Philander said.
Participation and enjoyment are the key words in mini-cricket.
The culture and atmosphere of the KFC Mini-Cricket Festival should be right. A coach should welcome the learners with a smile, while being fully focused on them and having fun with them.
“The children grow in self-confidence in a safe environment – which means an atmosphere where there is no fear of being rejected,” he added.
He challenged the coaches by asking which changes they have made to their menu. They should be impregnated with new ideas to ensure that children return to receive new skills in an inspiring way, Philander remarked.