Mosimanegape Piet Ntlame, a mathematics teacher at George Madoda Primary School in Delarayville, North West, has been named the KFC Mini-Cricket Coach of the Month for December in recognition of his hard work and dedication to the volunteer coaching programme. He wins a trophy, a cap and KFC gift vouchers worth R1,000.
Ntlame was introduced to cricket 12 years ago by Chris Sekgabi, a KFC Mini-Cricket coordinator in the North West, who was encouraging rural schools in the province to get into cricket. "At the time I was a teacher at Gamoeketsi Primary School in the rural village, Khunwana, where we only offered soccer and athletics. After Chris' presentation I knew that this was what I wanted to do. The following year he helped me register for the KFC Mini-Cricket refreshers/beginners coaching course where I earned a distinction and immediately started coaching at my school," said Ntlame.
But he didn't stop there. "Chris saw my passion for the sport and he then helped me get a learnership to study for a Level A Hard-ball Cricket coaching course through the North West Cricket Union. I then studied for a Level C Cricket Umpiring certificate."
In 2005 Ntlame was transferred to Delarayville and immediately started a cricket team at the school. "When the neighbouring schools saw what I was doing they asked me to help them do the same. I then started hosting workshops in the area to teach coaching. I was then requested to start coaching clinics. By mid-2006 I was coaching three schools and approached North West Cricket to get involved and I officially joined the KFC Mini-Cricket programme." Ntlame is currently a KFC Mini-Cricket coach and coordinator for the Dr Ruth Mompati Region in North West.
"I now have 17 lower primary and primary schools involved in the KFC Mini-Cricket programme. I coach about 32 kids, 17 of which are from neighbouring schools. We train three days a week at my current school," said a proud Ntlame, who is fully behind the KFC messaging around the tournament, which is to get kids active on the cricket field.
Challenges in semi-rural areas
But there are challenges to running the programme in a remote, semi-rural area which Ntlame is managing to overcome. "North West Cricket came on board and helped with equipment such as bats, balls and stumps. More recently, the Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation in the province started assisting us with transporting of teams to regional and provincial competitions."
While Ntlame has yet to have a professional player emerge from his programme, he hopes to produce one in the near future. "Last year one of my girls, who has graduated from my KFC Mini-Cricket programme to hard-ball cricket, Kgatlhiso Monnapula, received an award at the North West Cricket/PSG function held in Potchefstroom and was invited to the provincial under-17 team trials. She performed well and is attending provincial practices and hopes to be called up for her provincial first cap soon."
"Four of my players have been invited to North West under-13 provincial trials, namely, Phemelo Van Schalkwyk, Moepeng Bakatha, Dikomela Bopaki and Mmakau Orefile. The trials will take place during the Easter holidays," concluded Ntlame.
There are now over 100,000 kids getting active by getting into KFC Mini-Cricket. The over 7,000 volunteer coaches in the programme, who generously give their time and skills, will ensure that the kids from the 4,500 schools will be coached more frequently while also improving the standard of cricket.