With only one dilapidated cricket net at a high school, Tembisa Cricket Club is battling to survive.
This not only has an impact on current players’ performance but also negatively affects new members joining this Easterns Cricket Union affiliated club.
But despite these hardships, the club still has several teams playing in the Easterns leagues, from a premier side to several junior teams.
In early July, Godphrey Hlengani took over as interim club chairperson and has now taken it upon himself to reach out for help to improve the club’s facilities.
“The biggest blow to the progress of cricket in Tembisa, a township that is considered the second biggest township after Soweto, is the lack of facilities and capital engagement,” he said.
“I am concerned by the state of the sporting code in Tembisa, although cricket is said to be the third most followed sporting code in the country. With built-in transformation strategies, many township children are still being denied the opportunity to reach their full potential due to limited or lack of proper facilities and funding.”
He said the nets at this only facility were in a terrifying state because of vandalism by learners and the community and the lack of maintenance from both the City of Ekurhuleni and the cricket union.
“What added to our frustration is that the municipality built a tennis court on a piece of land that was identified for a cricket field a long time ago. When the club requested that the municipality assisted with maintenance at the school facility, it was said the land was privately owned and no maintenance could be done without the owner’s permission.
“We already have multiple tennis courts in the township which are not properly used or maintained.”
Hlengani said only two coaching staff had been employed to develop the game in such a big township while other townships in the region own cricket hubs and have cricket fields within their townships.
He believes the starting point to address the problems would be for the community to work together.
“We need to understand that sport is not only for competitive reasons but it also promotes a healthy lifestyle and a career for those youngsters who do make it.”
The club invites interested parties to assist with sponsorship or funding. They can visit the club’s Facebook page, Tembisa Cricket Club, or contact Hlengani on [email protected]
Easterns Cricket Union failed to reply to questions submitted to them.Themba Gadebe, spokesperson for the metro, said: “The area referred to is not identified and is therefore difficult to identify what tennis court he refers to.
“The only place a tennis court was built by the City was at the Thami Mnyele Heritage site in Tembisa 1 and it was requested by the ward councillor.”