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Moletsane and Modimokoane latest TAP rising stars

Niels Momberg
Niels Momberg
©Cricket South Africa

The Junior World Cup is just months away and the focus has now shifted to the progress of the rising stars who seek to stake their claim and earn a spot in the Coca-Cola South Africa side at the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup in January next year.

The Talent Acceleration Programme (TAP) is just one of the many platforms that Cricket South Africa (CSA) provides for players to hone and showcase their skills. The programme, which works in two-year cycles, forms a crucial part of the SA under-19s’ development pipeline, with the players identified by the national scouts alongside Head Coach, Lawrence Mahatlane.

Throughout their cycle, the youngsters are put through extensive regional camps, individual coaching sessions and have their performances tracked from the under-16 and under-17 level before they attend the national camps. The players are also monitored through CSA’s Player Performances Plans and Player Development Plans.

In recent years, a combined CSA TAP XI, made up of players who are part of the programme but stem from the non-traditional cricketing schools, has been invited to the annual Fasken Time Cricket Festival hosted by St David’s Marist Inanda. The tournament, which this year took place between 5-8 September, features 11 of the country’s top schools, with the likes of Maritzburg College from Pietermaritzburg, King Edward VII School (KES) from Johannesburg and St Andrew’s School from Bloemfontein.

In this year’s edition, there were outstanding performances from two of the CSA programme’s bright stars. St Andrews’ Pheko Moletsane starred for his school with the bat, as he earned the Player of the Tournament award following his 268 runs in two matches, including a century (111) against KES to go with his four wickets.

The youngster also received a call-up to the SA under-19s during the inbound tour against Pakistan in June but was unable to make his debut due to illness.

Odirile Modimokoane of the CSA TAP XI and an HTS Potchefstroom pupil shone with ball throughout the four days. The promising spinner bamboozled most of his opposing batters to pick up an impressive 19 wickets, including an incredible return of eight for 36 in the second innings of their opening match against KES.

The 18-year old claimed the Bowler of the Tournament accolade, with the CSA TAP XI losing by a single wicket against KES in a thrilling contest before the side played out a respectable draw against Jeppe High School for Boys.

“I’m excited with what I saw from these two,” commented Niels Momberg, CSA Youth & Tertiary Manager. “I saw Pheko’s entire match against KES where he got a hundred in a day and I am excited about his, particularly as a black African batter, and Odirile’s development. “They’ve got quite a big future ahead of them,” he added.

Another feather in the programme’s cap comes in the form of the rapid rise of tall, left-arm seamer, Marco Jansen. The former Potchefstroom Gymnasium student was selected in the CSA TAP XI last year where he excelled, going on to be named in the 15-man SA under-19s squad that toured India in February this year. Further performances have earned him caps for the SA Emerging team and the SA ‘A’ side that is currently taking on India on the sub-continent.

“We are very happy with the programme because it is producing players. Not only that, but it is also producing administrators and coaches,” Momberg continued.

“One of our selectors has become a national selector. One of our scouts, in Jono Leaf-Wright, has now been appointed the CEO at the (Central Gauteng) Lions. Enoch Nkwe was also a part of the programme at one stage, being a Lions coach at Cubs Week and an assistant to Ray Jennings at the under-19 World Cup.

“That is all part of the programme, they all came through it and that makes me proud.”

 CSA TAP XI at the Fasken Time Cricket Festival 2019:

 Taheer Isaacs (Central Gauteng Lions), Tebogo Mathe (North West), Ethan Keiffer (Western Province), Khaya Nyamathe (Easterns), Emmanuel Motswiri (Central Gauteng Lions), Thato Msizi (Western Province), Juandre Johnson (Easterns), Merrick Brett (Northerns), Gerhardus Fourie (Limpopo), Odirile Modimokoane (North West), Karabelo Matlawe (North West), Daniel Van der Merwe (Northerns)