Meet Coach Babalwa

Born in Cape Town, I left at a very early age and went to the Eastern Cape. I grew up in the rural area of Mthatha. While in the lower primary school grades, I saw young boys playing cricket on the field after school. I was inquisitive about this sport that the boys were playing. I fell in love and wanted to join in and be part of the club, but I received several rejections from the boys because I was just a little girl who was only 11 years old at the time. 

I didn’t give up and tried my level best to join the club. I ended up approaching the teacher who was the sports master. The teacher finally gave me the opportunity. It was a big challenge for me. I was the only girl in an all boys club. I was kept on my toes and had to learn faster than the boys to keep up.

As time went on, my love for the game of cricket grew and elevated to the point that I recruited other girls to form a girls team. I believed that forming a girls team would be easy, but it was like heating a rock. There was not a single person who was keen to train the girls and support us. I had to transfer all the skills that I’d learned from the boys. With a lot of hard work, the girls team was successfully formed.

In 2007 I was 13 years old. I went to the provincial cricket trails but unfortunately, did not make it. My father encouraged me to not give up. The year after, I went to trails again. I made the u16 team. And then joined the u19. Quickly after that I joined the Kie Cricket Board, where I played for 6 years.

After I matriculated, I moved back to Cape Town to further my studies at Boland College. It was really hard to balance my studies with my passion, and I ended up quitting cricket to focus on my studies. After completing my studies, I would go to Impendulo Primary School to watch the kids practicing cricket. That’s where I met Mr Ronnie Gcakasi. Mr Gcakasi introduced me to the Amy Beihl foundation, which I later she joined and where I had the opportunity to grow and develop my skills. Years later I joined the Khayelitsha Cricket Hub as a sessional coach and was then appointed as an assistant coach. My responsibility was to train and develop girls.

My passion for cricket led me to the Gary Kirsten Foundation where I started as a volunteer coach. Now I am a fully fledged coach. I still remember leading the GKF girls team as their coach, when they played against the touring England side.

I believe this sport can save a lot of girls from the township. Cricket keeps them engaged. I dream of seeing more players from GKF playing at provincial level.