Proteas women bring ZAC Challenge spirit to Dobsonville school on International Women's Day

The Proteas women surprised cricketers at St. Angela’s Primary School who won the March edition of the Cricket South Africa (CSA) ZAC Challenge with a skills challenge against members the national team as part of their International Women’s Day awareness campaign in Soweto on Friday.

The school, which is situated in Dobsonville, beat out their counterparts in the province to win the Challenge which brought about a cricket facilities upgrade worth R30 000 for their efforts.

CSA, through Central Gauteng Lions - which administers all development cricket played in areas including Soweto, Johannesburg North and Central, Lenasia and Vaal - ran the ZAC Challenge where several schools from townships and suburbs took part in a competition that tested their skills in all aspects of the game. ZAC is the official mascot of Cricket South Africa and promotes passion and accessibility for all who share an interest in the sport.

 “The ZAC Challenge falls in line with CSA’s vision to make cricket a truly national sport of winners and accessible to all. It was launched to not only promote popularity and access to the sport but also to hone the skills of grassroots talent which will be considered for provincial selection,” said Thabang Moroe, Chief Executive of Cricket South Africa.

“The involvement of our Proteas women, who have made us proud with their efforts on the field in their recently concluded tour against Sri Lanka in today’s activation, is a bonus and a great opportunity for the female pupils of St. Angela’s Primary to hear from these talented athletes. We hope that they can inspire a new generation of future Proteas as they go up against them in the ZAC Challenge.

 “It is particularly significant that we should have today’s event on International Women’s Day, which is a day to commemorate women worldwide and their vital roles in society. On this day, we are reminded of the many social and economic issues that need to be tackled to shape a better tomorrow for future generations of mothers, athletes, professionals and those countless and faceless heroines who uphold our communities is many informal ways, that so often go unacknowledged and unpraised. As CSA, we hope that today will open the eyes and minds of the youngsters to the many possibilities that cricket has to offer, both on and off the field.”

 According to Harmony Ntshinga, Head Coach: Regional Perfomance Centre (RPC) in Dobsonville, the St. Angela cricket team collected the most points for hitting the target, recording the most number of catches, scoring the most runs and registering the most impressive fielding record.

 “RPCs act as a feeder to provincial level cricket by training, mentoring and readying aspiring cricketers to provincial level. Having such an initiative such as the ZAC challenges makes it easy for us to identify talent and nurture it for the next level. Ultimately, every child must be given an opportunity to play sport with cricket being one of the default sports regardless of background of the school or child,” adds Ntshinga.

St. Angela Primary School will use the funds to upgrade its cricket facilities and eagerly looks to expose young girls to the game so they can also compete at the highest level.

Sister Nkele Mochela, the school’s Principal, notes “We are extremely proud of our cricket team who won because of their determination and will to win while having jolly fun on the pitch. It’s very important for kids to be exposed to unconventional sporting codes at a young age so they can have a fair shot of making a name for themselves in the sport.

Mochela is confident that with the upgraded cricket facilites, the St. Angela cricket team will grow in numbers because learners will finally feel like they are playing on a real cricket pitch.

 “With the invaluable contribution by the RPC coaches, affording us skills and expertise that we are not exposed to or have access to, I’m convinced we will carve players that will make it beyond provincial level.”