Former Springbok rugby player, Ashwin Willemse, was the star attraction on the first day of the KFC Mini-Cricket National Seminar in Polokwane on Sunday. Willemse gave a rousing speech to the 150 delegates, touching on the important role coaches play in their communities.
“Sport played a big part in shaping me when I was younger; it saved me from being a criminal,” the award-winning rugby player said. “I don’t think I would have developed the interest if it weren’t for all of the coaches that pushed me further. The mini-cricket coaches that are here today play a big role in their communities. Their dedication and hard work is invaluable. I hope that I have at least inspired a few people today.”
Willemse’s inspirational speech was the highlight of a packed day, which also included a talk on the essence of coaching from Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) Coaching Manager, Anton Ferreira. The conference is in its 30th year, and is used to reflect on the past season while planning and strategising for the upcoming one.
Ferreira said: “The mini-cricket coaches form a crucial part of CSA’s pipeline. They are harnessing future Protea players. It’s important for us to celebrate the great role they play. Many of them selflessly give hours of their time and energy into their jobs. This is also a great opportunity for us to thank these servants of the game, as a lot of their efforts often go unnoticed.” The delegates will hold key strategy discussions on Monday, coupled with guest appearances from Proteas player Farhaan Behardien and bizhub Highveld Lions coach, Geoffrey Toyana.