Proteas assistant coach Malibongwe Maketa says it was special to return to Mdantsane to “try and make a difference” as the national cricket team held a coaching clinic with children from the area on Sunday.
The South African team travelled to East London for Tuesday’s first T20 International against Zimbabwe at Buffalo Park (6pm start) after wrapping up the ODI series 3-0 in Paarl on Saturday.
Cricket South Africa said that over 40 boys and girls from the region were coached by the Proteas squad at the Mdantsane Hub, while fans also met the players afterwards.
“It is important for us as Proteas to use every opportunity that we can to get closer to our supporters and the next generation of cricketers,” Proteas assistant coach, Maketa said in a statement.
“For the young players to be coached by some of their heroes will not only feed their passion, but it will inspire the players to continue putting the hard work into their cricket and their futures.
“I am from this area, so it is even more special to come back here with the Proteas to try and make a difference.
“I remember being as eager and as enthusiastic as some of the players we saw today, it is a big deal for them. There is a rich cricket history in the Eastern Cape, and I’m sure there will be many future Proteas coming from this hub.”
Another team member who hails from the greater Border region, hard-hitting middle-order batsman Christiaan Jonker, echoed Maketa’s sentiments.
“I am very passionate about this part of the world. I play for Border at every opportunity that I can get, and being back here with the Proteas is almost like coming full circle,” Jonker said.
“It’s vital for us as national cricketers to take cricket to all parts of the country: you never know which future Proteas we are inspiring just by being here.
“I am excited about the future of cricket in this area, there is a lot of work being put in the pipelines, and we will no doubt see many Proteas coming from this area.”