Thamsanqa Khumalo from KZN Coastal is one of threeplayers selected for the SA Schools or SA Colts teams to have graduated from the KZNCU Department of Sports and Recreation and Sunfoil Township and Rural Programme. Picture: Petri Oeschger/ Gallo Images

Durban - The recent Coca-Cola Khaya Majola Cricket Week in Cape Town bore testament to the ongoing success of cricket development in KwaZulu-Natal with three players who are products of the KZNCU Department of Sports and Recreation and Sunfoil Township and Rural Programme were selected for the SA Schools and SA Colts teams.

KZN Coastal players Thamsanqa Khumalo - who has just completed grade 12 at Glenwood High School - and Lefa Ntanzi, a grade 11 learner also at Glenwood, were selected for the SA Schools team. Khumalo hails from Ntuzuma; whilst Ntanzi was introduced to the game in uMlazi. 

Mondli Khumalo - also from uMlazi - who represented KZN Inland was selected for the SA Colts team. He is a grade eleven learner at Maritzburg College.

After working their way up the ranks in their respective townships, under the tutelage of their coaches Sandile Simelane (uMlazi), Xolani Gasa (uMlazi) and Zamani Mfusi (Ntuzuma), all three players were given the opportunity to attend prominent cricketing schools on bursaries. 

Thamsanqa Khumalo's bursary was made possible by the Sunfoil Education Trust (SET), a project of the Willowton Group, a major backer of cricket development in the province. 

"We are really excited about having played a role in Thamsanqa making the SA Schools Side," says Willowton Group CEO, Zubair Moosa. 

"The SET program is clearly delivering on its objectives as over the year's we have seen our bursary students graduating from university with degrees, making age group provincial teams, and two recipients - including Thamsanqa - going all the way to the Under 19 National Team."

"We also enjoy a long association with cricket development in the province via the KZNCU DSR Sunfoil Cricket Development Programme and are thrilled about Mondli and Lefa's selections."

For Khumalo, inclusion in the SA Schools side held a special added significance: "This year was was my last Coke Week so I had to leave a mark. Even though my initial performances weren't that great, I managed to keep believing that I could make one of the sides - SA Schools or SA Colts; and my coach Duzi Mbatha told me I needed to calm down and keep believing that I would perform; so that's what I did and it's the best feeling; I'm very happy."

Sanelisizwe Kuzwayo, the manager of the KZNCU Hub and RPC Development programme* congratulated the players on their achievement. "They've worked very hard throughout the year and now they're bearing the fruits of that hard work."

"I'm very proud of them and wish them all the best."

Heinrich Strydom, the CEO of KZN Cricket also congratulated the two Khumalos and Ntanzi.

"We are incredibly proud of these boys, and as a Union we will cherish this moment. This moment is a reward for all the sacrifices made by many individuals, parents, teachers, coaches and administrators. 

"The contributions from the Department of Sport and Recreation, Sunfoil and many other likeminded individuals and companies have played a massive role in giving these life-changing opportunities and as a Union we are extremely grateful. We look forward to sharing a bright future with these talented players."

* In September the Department of Sports and Recreation, Sunfoil and KZNCU Township and Rural Programme was realigned to the KZNCU Hub and RPC Development Programme.

The Mercury