An inaugural T20 tournament between five Cape Flats U14 teams, Primose, Langa, Ottomans, Fish Rite Hanover Park CC, the JP21 Foundation and the Birmingham Bulls. This tournament took place at the Rygate Cricket grounds in Johnson Road, Rylands over the weekend and was keenly contested in a spirit of sportsmanship and camaraderie.
For Ashraf Allie, chairperson of the Fish Rite Hanover Park Cricket Club, the tournament – sponsored by Awqaf SA – was part of an ongoing dream to uplift young people in underprivileged areas via the medium of cricket.
The tournament, featuring the Birmingham Bulls – a team of young players and parents from various English clubs – was a reciprocation of an earlier visit in August last year to the UK by Fish Rite Hanover Park Cricket Club.
In a historic social building project, 14 under 14 boys traveled to England, playing seven matches against local opponents. For Allie, the success of the tour – whilst reflected in seven of the players later being invited to the WP trials – went far beyond the game.
“The feedback we got back from the parents is that their children left South Africa as boys and returned from England as men. It was amazing to see how these young people matured in such a short space of time.
“This reinforces my vision that sport can be used as another form of life education. Sport played in the proper manner definitely teaches our youth life skills and keeps them off the streets of temptation.
“At Hanover Park I believe we have something that government and local authorities need to take notice of. We can make a change, and we want to make a change. We want to produce Protea players, the likes of JP Duminy and Vernon Philander, who rose from amongst us to be the best of their craft,” he said.
Allie also paid tribute to his club’s sponsors, as well as Awqaf SA, who sponsored the weekend’s tournament, which was won by the Birmingham Bulls in an exciting game against Primrose.
“What was so satisfying was the spirit the game was played in, players running up to shake each other by the hand after dismissals and acknowledging each other’s performances,” he said.
For Birmingham Bulls captain, Yusuf Samir, the tournament was an eye-opener.
“For example, back in England we don’t have kit challenges. So, seeing the Langa players willingly sharing their kit was amazing for me to see. It goes to your heart. I expected to be playing middle-class teams. We don’t really witness this kind of sacrifice back home. For us, it was a big learning experience. Langa was an amazing team with an amazing spirit.
“Also, every game started with a handshake, which created such a sense of camaraderie, despite all our games being hard-fought in a good spirit. We really enjoyed the warmth and hospitality of our opponents,” he said.
For team manager, Samir Rauf, the tour and the tournament have proved to be a profound experience.
“The visit to Cape Town has propelled our boys in ways we couldn’t have fathomed. Yes, we enjoyed our victory in the final over Primroses, but it has been so much more than that. Every boy has developed a sense of maturity after their experiences, especially seeing the challenges of Hanover Park and other Cape Flats areas, and how the club has risen to meet its daunting social challenges.”