As the 2016/2017 cricket season gets under way, official One-Day format sponsor Momentum, at a launch at their head office in Centurion, has re-affirmed its commitment to its support of the game, along with the announcement of a handful of new initiatives. The Standard Bank Proteas head into two ODI Series with Ireland and Australia from next week and the Momentum Proteas take on New Zealand in a seven-match ODI series in October. The Momentum One-Day Cup will start on Friday 17 February 2017.
Momentum is now supporting the Momentum National Schools Weeks for U13, U15 and U17 provincial players, the Momentum Friendship Games, (pitching talented youngsters from three diverse hubs into competitive, yet friendly competition), the Momentum Friendship Award, in recognition of outstanding sportsmanship at any cricket match at international, franchise, club, schools or friendly level and the Momentum Friendship Pledge. The pledge is intended to be read out at the start of matches, tours or championships; at International and domestic franchise games, school matches or friendlies.
The unifying element is about finding and nurturing talent, supporting grassroots development and creating a culture of true sportsmanship and an environment that unites and uplifts.
Commenting, Danie van den Bergh Head of Brand, Momentum, says: “We are committed to making a meaningful contribution and creating a legacy that has value. We know cricket has the power to unite and inspire and with support at schools level we want to make sure that there is a journey of opportunity for every talented youngster who dreams big.”
The Momentum Friendship Games will provide a unique platform for children from various backgrounds to meet on the cricket pitch and compete in a non-intimidating atmosphere. The players are taken from areas:
- Regional Performance Centres (RPC’s) where there are less opportunities for exposure to quality matches,
- Focus Schools, which are cricket dormant former Model C schools with passable playing facilities but without dedicated coaching programmes and
- Traditional Schools, private or public schools with a strong tradition of sporting access and dedicated cricket programmes and facilities.
Again, the idea is that no child with drive and talent will miss out on cricketing opportunity. This format offers nurturing support, a skills-sharing platform and can expose players from different backgrounds to different playing environments, as well as the opportunity to forge new friendships. Following a pilot phase this year the Games will roll out in 2017.
Standard Bank Protea Captain AB de Villiers says: “It gives us great pleasure to be able to welcome in another exciting summer of cricket in South Africa with our proud partnership with Momentum. There are some brilliant initiatives that have been launched for the upcoming season which will benefit South African cricket and make the 2016/2017 season one of the best to come. South African cricket is in a healthy state and we will no doubt see more future Proteas coming from the world-class systems and initiatives that have been put in place.
De Villiers continues: “We host the reigning World Champions, Australia, in a few days, and we are looking forward to starting our season on a winning note. It promises to be a highly competitive and action-packed series, and will be the ideal challenge for our squad. We have a packed international schedule coming up, and as a squad, we want nothing more than to produce the high-quality performances that have been synonymous with the Proteas over the years.”
The schools initiatives are in addition to Momentum’s CSI involvement in education and sports development through the Momentum2Excellence (M2E) bursary programme, supported by the Momentum Cricket Sixes Invitational, the Fort Hare Rural Cricket Academy and the Momentum eKasi Challenge, which takes professional cricket to the township.
Van den Bergh concludes: “Our long-term partnership with CSA means that we can share the vision that by investing in talent, supported by education, we can nurture excellence and make a difference in the outcome of future generations and leaders, both on and off the pitch”.