IT is a well-established fact that to grow any sport, you need to provide opportunities for your target market and that is the driving force of the KFC Mini-Cricket festivals currently taking place around the country.
The eighth edition of the 16 festivals was hosted by the EP Cricket Board at Axxess St George’s at the weekend, with over 700 boys and girls aged from three to 13 enjoying the fun. The festivals are made up of schools teams of eight players per team, with each side playing two games.
To hone their skills, the children were able to use the KFC Action Zones, which are inflatables that introduce a fun element into teaching the basics of the game.
KFC partnered Cricket South Africa (CSA) in 2010 with the aim of reaching as many children as possible and they demonstrated they were on the right track last season when the programme grew by 20% – double the target set – meaning there are now over 100000 children actively involved.
The sponsors have also introduced KFC ambassadors, using high-profile national figures such as Proteas limited overs captain AB de Villiers to provide inspiration to the young players.
An ambassador since 2010, De Villiers said of his position: “Everyone needs an introduction into a particular sport and we couldn’t ask for a better way than to be involved in KFC Mini-Cricket.”
The focus this season is on getting children already in the programme to play more frequently. “We will ensure that we maintain and improve the quality of cricket played by the children and continue to encourage enrolment. A main focus for this season will be the growth of KFC Mini-Cricket into rural communities,” CSA youth cricket manager Niels Momberg said.