JOHANNESBURG – Proteas’ fast-bowler Kagiso Rabada is grateful for the recognition he received from Gauteng Sports department, as he walked away with the Sportsman of the Year in the provincial ceremony.
Rabada was rewarded for the sterling performance he’s had at international level, hence, he was selected as the top bowler for both ICC ODI and ICC Test Series earlier this year.
As a result, he became the youngest player ever to achieve this honour.
“It feels great to be acknowledged together with other sportsmen,” Rabada said. “I think it’s important that sports recognise people because we are fulfilling other people’s dreams. So these awards mean a lot but not only to me but to other sportsmen as well.”
This year’s provincial awards were also scheduled to honour the centenary of the late Nelson Mandela, together with Albertina Sisulu. During their prime, Mandela was actively involved in boxing, while Sisulu was a tennis fanatic.
“It’s not a coincidence that today we were honouring Nelson Mandela, together with Albertina Sisulu,” he said.
“They fought to make sure that we, as black people, actually do excel in sport at large. We need to be treated equally, of course a human being is a human-being. We can do it as well.”
Sunday’s recognition was the 23-year-old’s seventh accolade this year. Earlier, at the Cricket South Africa (CSA) award ceremony, he walked away with six awards - which included the Cricketer of the Year gong. However, Rabada has his eyes on improving his game instead of individual recognition.
“I am trying my best,” he insisted. “I am not trying to achieve, I am just trying to improve my game. I guess these are just a bonus and I am really glad and honoured. My international career has been a dream so far, it’s what I had dreamt of. I wanted to be best, now I am there and I want to carry on and set new goals.”
CSA CEO Thabang Moroe also sent Rabada a congratulatory message for walking away with the main honours.
In an official statement released by his office, Moroe said: “Congratulations to KG on being named Gauteng Sportsman of the Year. It represents a wonderful double for him after he was previously named SA Cricketer of the Year for the second time and almost swept the boards at our own awards.
Above all, he comes across as a man of great humility who has his feet firmly on the ground and will continue to be a wonderful role model for all our aspiring young cricketers.”