Langa Hub continues to groom champions

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When you talk about Langa Township and cricket, the first thing that comes to mind is Rubusana Street, which notably gave SA cricket not only Temba Bavuma but also Thami Tsolekile and Malusi Siboto.

One is a current Proteas batsman (Bavuma), the other a former Proteas wicketkeeper (Tsolekile) and the last one a Titans bowler (Siboto). But one thing links them, the fact that they all grew up on the same street in the Cape Town Township.

Thankfully, those players still give back to the community by coming back to play in the annual Langa Cricket Festival. Said festival features teams captained by the township’s international and first-class players, and last year’s event, held on December 28, had Bavuma, Siboto, Siya Simetu (Western Province) and Zanzima (Nono) Pongolo (Gauteng Lions) leading their sides.

It was a competition won by Siboto’s team, where by all accounts the Titan’s man’s death bowling was the difference.

This is why it is so important for Langa, essentially an impoverished area, to keep doing what it seems to do without much effort – producing quality cricketers.

That responsibility falls on Langa Hub head coach Sakhele Simon, a level three coach who coached the Dolphins’ B team between 2005 and 2012. While overseeing the Langa Hub may seem easy thanks to the culture of cricket in the area, Simon still has his issues to deal with.

Simon cites gangsterism and a lack of support from local councillors as the main problems he faces: “We have a big problem with the upkeep of our facilities, the grass isn’t in good shape and we’d like the council to help us out with that in keeping with their policy of trying to keep children away from gangsterism.

“The Gugulethu council gave out free equipment to their cricket, rugby and soccer teams, we’d like similar support from our council.”

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Not that this has stopped them from producing talent for higher honours, as was the case with Ayakha Siswana and Nadia Mbokotwana making the Western Province under-13 and under-19 sides respectively.

Here’s hoping it’s not long before they, too, come back to lead teams in the Langa Festival.

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