Over 11 000 cricketers from over 700 schools are currently in action to determine who will represent their respective provinces at the Coca-Cola® T20 Schools Challenge national week taking place in March 2014.
While it is still in its infancy, the Coca-Cola® T20 Schools challenge is already starting to assume its place in South Africa’s talent identification chain and becoming recognised as a place where heroes are made.
The first Protea to compete in the tournament was Quinton de Kock, who played for King Edward School (KES) in 2010 and 2011 and has gone on to make the national side.
Stellenbosh hosted the 2012 finals with Rondebosch Boys’ High School, representing the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras, beating the The Unlimited Titans representative, Hoërskool Waterkloof, in the final match to be crowned as champions. The game was played as a curtain-raiser to a Ram Slam T20 match played at Sahara Park Newlands, Cape Town.
Four players who competed in Stellenbosch were members of the SA under-19 team that played in the quadrangular series against India, Australia and Zimbabwe in India in September. Two of them – Dayaan Galiem and Hayes Van der Berg – were part of the victorious Rondebosch Boys’ High team, and they were joined by Sine Ntshona of St Andrew’s and St Stithians’ Kagiso Rabada.
CSA General Manager: Cricket, Corrie van Zyl, commented: “Accessibility to the game of cricket and getting an opportunity to showcase your talent in the pursuit of achieving the ultimate honour of representing the Proteas is the dream of every schoolboy in South Africa. The Coca-Cola T20 Schools challenge is an event that makes this achievable for every cricket-playing school team and consequently for each player representing his school.
“With the Coca-Cola Khaya Majola Week being the pinnacle of the schools cricket pipeline and, therefore, the springboard for selection to higher honours, the T20 Schools Challenge provides the opportunity to a wider range of players involved to impress at a higher level of competition.”
The Coca-Cola® T20 Schools Challenge is a feeder to the Coca-Cola® Khaya Majola Cricket Week, which in turn feeds the under-19 national team.
“Coca-Cola® South Africa has sponsored the Coca-Cola® Khaya Majola Cricket Week for over 30 years and in that time over 200 players have gone on to play for the Proteas,” said Fetsi Mbele, Coca-Cola® South Africa Marketing Assets Manager. “With the inclusion of the Coca-Cola® T20 Schools Challenge we are not only helping to identify heroes but also encouraging teens to be physically active.”
The format sees each of the 16 Cricket South Africa (CSA) unions stage their own tournaments to identify their provincial champions. A play-off between other provincial champions within their regions will determine which school will represent each of the six franchises in the national finals tournament.
The tournament is run under the auspices of Cricket South Africa.