South African cricket legends Graeme Smith,
Justin Kemp and Mark Boucher are set to kick off a social cricket tournament
with the aim of getting disadvantaged kids out there and playing.
The tournament will be a battle between
twelve cricket teams with current and past players such as Jonty Rhodes, Gary
Kirsten and Shaun Pollock.
Teams will bid for cricket legends for
their teams at an invite-only cocktail function, with all earnings going
towards Sporting Chance Development Foundation.
Sporting Chance’s prime objective is to
provide opportunities for children, age 9 and up, to excel at sport by offering
professional coaching at schools and sports clubs.
Brad Bing, Sporting Chance’s managing
director, says the key is to pull in kids before they become teenagers so they
can influence them in the right direction regarding what they want to achieve
To create an interest in sports, Sporting
Chance runs sport coaching and holiday clinics at schools. Other exciting
Health of the nation
These events give Sporting Chance the
opportunity to teach the kids what sport is all about and use that to identify
talent – from there they can go on to sports schools and be mentored.
“The main challenge is finding sponsorship.
People who actually should invest in township kids don’t want to sponsor at the
bottom level because sponsors only get media coverage by investing at top level,”
Fifteen-year-old Siphelo Witbooi, currently
in grade 8 at Joe Slovo High School in Khayelitsha, is one of the kids involved
with Sporting Chance. He started playing cricket at the age of nine at a Calypso
cricket event and had the courage to continue playing, even though he was discouraged
by his friends because he was not good at it.
“My mother doesn’t understand much about
the sport but she does encourage me to play and do the best I can. I believe I’m
better now than when I started,” says Witbooi.
His favourite cricket player and
inspiration is Makhaya Ntini. ”I’ve learnt that if you are a sportsman, you
need to eat healthily,” he added.
of playing sports
Health24 asked Greame Smith about the importance
of playing sports, especially starting at an early age:
“Sport is a great opportunity to get kids
outdoors and active, which in turn gives them an opportunity to be healthy, meet
other kids, learn about other cultures and grow their skills base.”
Sporting Chance can help grow a new
generation of sports stars and, hopefully, also grow them as people,” says
Mark Boucher says playing sports is the
best way to get a person out there and be more active, but it’s also about
creating a healthy mind.
Another bonus is that it helps tackle obesity
– a huge public health issue nowadays. With social media, TV and video games among
the contributing factors, it is hard to get the youth to be physically active.
According to Wonga Matshabane, projects manager
at Sporting Chance, they have a health-of-the-nation project that has been
running for about 10 years, aimed at creating awareness for kids about going
out there and being active.
blame TV, video games and social networks for inactivity but the kids do not
buy these things – it’s their parents who do. It is important to create an
environment for kids to go out and play,” says Matshabane.
“I have never met a kid who does not want
to go out and play. We have, however, created an environment for kids to be indoors.
Crime is also a contributing factor, as parents would rather keep their kids
indoors. It is a tough situation but it’s a fight that we are taking on,” he
Another topic of great concern is
sports-related concussion. Smith says it is important to trust and listen to what
the doctor has to say. “If a player is told to rest, then that is what they
should do. No one can afford to take their health for granted. This is
especially true for children who have a long life ahead of them – they need to
make sure that they lead a healthy lifestyle.”
Matshabane says he used to play rugby at
school and knows all too well the severity of concussions and how they should
be treated. The biggest issue, however, is that many schools, especially those
in the townships, can’t afford medical personnel on the field for tests.
“Coaches and players need to be more educated on this issue,” he added.
To become part of the development of the
future of South Africa’s children, contact Sporting Chance here.
For more information about the tournament
or alternatively call Kristi Lyall on 021 671 4127.