A feature of the Coca-Cola Khaya Majola Week, down the years, has been the number of “grey heads” – wise men with lots of knowledge and experience – who attend the tournament.
There is the usual number of them at the 2013 week at Kearsney College this week and one that you cannot miss is Anton Ferreira, Cricket South Africa’s manager of coaching and coaches’ education and an under-19 selector.
The amiable Ferreira, widely known as “Yogi” played for South Africa, unofficially, in the isolation days, and played for the then Northern Transvaal and Warwickshire.
He has gone on to dedicate his life to the development of youth cricket and has, among other things, coached the South African under-19 team and he manages CSA’s youth academy programme at the High Performance Centre at Tukkies in Pretoria.
He has been at every one of these weeks since 1997 and has been a selector since 2000.
His role at the Coca-Cola Khaya Majola Week, he explains, is to help select the SA Schools and under-19 teams, but he is looking at a bigger picture too, he says.
“At end of the day, our role is to feed into the pool of cricketers at all levels, not just the national side, although that’s the most important. Not everyone who shines here will make it to the top level, but many of them will play first class or even club cricket in the years to come,” he said.
“So, we need to identify the players who go into our high performance system, but I also keep an eye out for others with potential so we can keep monitor their progress.”
Ferreira sees the Coca-Cola Khaya Majola Cricket Week as a vital part of the talent identification and development pipeline. “It’s the flagship schools tournament, no question about that, and there is nothing quite like it anywhere else. We get the chance to see all the top players at one time and, these days, we use it to confirm what we already know about many of them from our contact with them.”
The players at the week are only 17 or 18 years old, Ferriera emphasises, so they are not the finished product yet. “We are not rewarding performance only, but are trying to identify potential, remembering that some stars are late developers.”
The next step in the development pipeline is the under-19 World Cup in March, and for the top players, an invitation to the CSA Academy in the winter.
“There, it’s all about skills development, and making the transition to the next level, but we also look at life skills and at coping with the pressures that they will be facing. We have a module that we call ‘a game plan for your life’ which takes into consideration that the players will not all make it at the next level.”
The academy programme has seen, in its 17 years of existence, 70 graduates go on to play for South Africa.
“And all of those were identified at this week, so the role that the Coca-Cola Khaya Majola Week plays in the pipeline cannot be underestimated,” Ferriera says.
“I’m approaching retirement age soon, but I can guarantee you the Coca-Cola Khaya Majola Week will continue to be the one event I will always attend.”
Northerns vs Boland
Northerns 141 all out (Dirk Bruwer 45*, Curtley Louw 5/20, Taigh Schoor 2/36)
Eastern Province vs Gauteng
Eastern Province 211 all out (Murray Leith 67, Bradley Bopp 54, Keith Dudgeon 4/37, Brandon Glover 2/28)
Griqualand West vs Limpopo
Griqualand West 207/8 (Patrick Kruger 42, Ainslee Bok 39, Gideon Bruwer 38, Asad Patel 2/20, Eddy Human 2/31)
Mpumalanga vs KZN Inland
Mpumalanga 124 all out (Siyabonga Mahima 46, Lwandiswa Zuma 4/18, Andrew Darroch 2/13)
Western Province vs KZN Coastal
Western Province 290/6 (Clyde Fortuin 123, Mathew Christensen 42, Luke Schlemmer 3/26)
North West vs South Western Districts
North West 180 all out (Michael Eckard 49*, Jacobus Jacobs 39, Arno Moolman 5/34, Richard Maree 3/43)
Namibia vs Free State
Namibia 136 all out (Malan Kruger 44, Sean Whitehead 2/24, Lyle Heilbron 2/27)
Easterns vs Border
Easterns 142 (Jurie Snyman 67, Ngazi Sigwili 4/17, Aphiwe Elembi 2/20)