Franciske Anneke Venter, sport coordinator for Learners with Special Educational Needs (LSEN) for Northerns cricket, has been named the KFC Mini-Cricket Coach of the Month. The award is in recognition of the hard work and dedication towards the volunteer coaching programme. She wins a trophy, a cap and KFC gift vouchers worth R1 000.
Venter, who has cerebral palsy, developed a passion for cricket at a young age but could not find a programme to cater for those with special needs so she played with able-bodied players. “I then discovered that a form of cricket for the disabled was played in the UK,” said Venter. “I introduced this type of cricket to the Northerns Cricket Union and it has now spread to other unions.”
While she was still playing the game at provincial level as well as coaching teens, Venter decided to shift her focus to the KFC Mini-Cricket programme. “I first started coaching in 2003 and in 2009 I joined the KFC Mini-Cricket programme as I wanted to make a difference in the lives of differently abled kids so they can achieve their cricket dreams. I achieved my dreams and I wanted to inspire and motivate kids. I feel my work is done when I see a child smile after hitting a ball, scoring a couple of runs or taking a wicket,” said Venter, who has a Cricket South Africa level 2 coaching qualification.
One of Venter’s success stories is 20 year-old Brent Koetzer who has only one arm and has been representing the Northerns LSEN team for the past three seasons. “I started coaching Brent in 2008 when he was 16 years old. He will be going to Mpumalanga next month to represent Northerns at the National LSEN Tournament.”
Venter was nominated for the award based on her coaching abilities. She is dependable, always delivers on what she promises and she has shown that she can successfully arrange and run KFC Mini-Cricket in LSEN schools and clubs. Her recipe for KFC Mini-Cricket stretches wider than her school alone. She successfully involves parents, and the coordinators from other neighbouring LSEN schools.
The biggest challenge is the logistics of getting kids with disabilities to games. “Sometimes the effort becomes too much for the parents and they eventually decide not to attend,” said Venter. “Working directly with Northerns Cricket, I try to think of everything that the kids might need and I try my best to help all the kids get to their games.”
When not coaching KFC Mini-Cricket, Venter represents Northerns as a bowling all-rounder in their disabled cricket programme.
There are now over 100 000 kids getting active by getting into KFC Mini-Cricket. The over 7 000 volunteer coaches in the programme, who generously give their time and skills, will ensure that the kids from the 4 500 schools will be coached more frequently while also improving the standard of cricket.
For more information or to register your school for KFC Mini-Cricket log on to www.kfc.co.za/minicricket or contact CSA at (011) 880 2810.