Mokgakane a shining light for KZNCU's
Durban - Andile Mokgakane made history this week by becoming the first
protégé of the KZNCU, DSR and Sunfoil Township and Rural Development
Programme to be
included in a South Africa under-19 cricket World Cup squad.
Mokgakane (17), who hails from Lindelani, says that he is “very happy and
excited” to be included in the squad of 15 which will contend in the 12th
edition of the ICC under-19 World Cup in New Zealand early next year.
It has not been an easy journey for the grade eleven Northwood School
learner. Mokgakane grew up in a lower income, single parent household in
Lindelani, with his two brothers and sister. He was introduced to cricket
by the KZNCU, DSR and Sunfoil Township and Rural Development Programme at nine, as a grade
four learner at Mandlakazulu Primary School.
Two years later he became part of the elite component of the programme
which gives township cricketers an opportunity to compete against
traditional cricketing schools.
Mokgakane’s talent attracted the interest of Northwood School which
offered him a high school scholarship, subsidized by the Sunfoil Bursary
Fund. He represented the school’s first
team as a bowler when he was in grade nine; switching his focus to batting
in grade ten.
It was difficult adjusting to a completely new environment
and he worked hard at his studies, attending extra lessons, and
sacrificing speaking isiZulu for long periods on end in an effort to
attain fluency in English.
He received his KZN under-19 call up in grade ten. Chris van Noordwyk, the
assistant coach of the SA under-19 World Cup squad spotted Mokgakane in
action earlier this year in Pretoria, where he was representing his club
Hollywoodbets Crusaders in national club championships, and invited him to
an SA under-19 camp.
Mokgakane was part of the Under 19 squad which played against the West
Indies in Durban in July; and was also recently selected to play against
England and Namibia.
The cherry on the top was the World Cup call up which will see Mokgakane
embarking on his first international flight in January, first to Dubai for
a warm up game, then to New Zealand for the tournament itself.
An elated Mokgakane – who bats at number three for the South Africa
under-19 side - paid tribute to the KZNCU, DSR and Sunfoil Township and
Rural Development Programme.
“I want to say thank you to the programme - thanks to its work I had
access to free food, free kits and a free education which we couldn’t
His goal is to help his team get to the finals of the World Cup, and on a
personal level, to be the highest run scorer of the tournament.
Sanelisiwe Kuzwayo, the manager of the programme, pointed out that there’s
an abundance of talent in Lindelani.
“Lindelani may be small in terms of demographics but where cricket is
concerned, it’s big – thanks to the efforts of our coaches there, Sandile
Hlongwa and Nduduzo Hopewell Ngcobo Twala who have done a magnificent job
in recruiting and nurturing cricket talent.
"There are always Lindelani boys and girls in the KZN sides, and cricket
is becoming increasingly popular amongst the parents as well who are
playing at club level.”
“The core community mind set has been changed through cricket.”
The news that a boy who was part of the programme had made a World Cup
squad would inspire other township cricketers, she added.
“This is a dream come true for us,” she said. “Having a boy who started
playing cricket as part of our programme playing in the World Cup is going
to uplift the other boys and girls and encourage them to work harder.
"I’m sure Andile will not forget his roots – he is a hardworking, humble,
committed and disciplined individual who has excelled, irrespective of him
coming from the poorest of poor areas.”
Heinrich Strydom, the CEO of KZN Cricket wished Mokgakane all the best for
“We are incredibly proud of Andile. His selection once again confirms the
incredible work done by the KZNCU, DSR and Sunfoil Township and Rural
Development Programme in
conjunction with the Amateur department,” he said.
More information can be found at
Coca-Cola South Africa Under-19s ICC
World Cup squad:
Raynard van Tonder (capt, Free State), Matthew Breetzke (Eastern
Province), Jean du Plessis (South Western Districts), Jason Niemand
(Border), Gerald Coetzee (Free State), Jade de Klerk (Eastern Province),
Fraser Jones (KZN Inland), Wandile Makwetu (Gauteng), Andile
Mokgakane (KZN Coastal), Kgaudise Molefe (Gauteng), Thando Ntini
(Western Province), Jiveshen Pillay (Northerns), Hermann Rolfes (Northerns),
Kenan Smith (Eastern Province), Akhona Mnyaka (Border).
Lawrence Mahatlane (Head Coach), Wandile Gwavu (Assistant Coach), Chris
van Noordwyk (Assistant Coach), Riaan Osman (Manager), Kyle Southgate
(Performance Analyst), Lizahn Naude (Physiotherapist), Sipokazi
Sokanyile (Media Liaison), Runeshan Moodley (Fitness Trainer), Robin
Peterson (Technical Consultant), Maurice Aronstam (Mental Conditioning