I grew up in Khayelitsha, in 19-section, Makaya. Just like any township kid, I used to play soccer and hated cricket which I found really boring. That was until I watched the 1992 ICC World Cup. Since then, I never looked back – that World Cup had a significant impact on me, and my childhood friends in Makhaya, who quickly swapped from street soccer to street cricket. While attending Masiyile Senior Secondary School, I was fortunate to play midweek cricket under WPCA. The school principal and leadership were very supportive. The principal would watch all our games and make sure that we were all well fed and looked after.
I was also privileged to be coached and mentored by Cyril “Tazu” Ntshidi, who was a great influence in my early career. Cyril had an inspiring passion for cricket. He would come and watch our school games and help us wit umpiring and tips. He was the only coach in the whole of Khayelitsha. He was actually more like a talent scout, and that influenced me to take the game seriously and be more passionate about it.
In 1999 I joined Khayelitsha Cricket Club. I was already 20 years old. I was unable to join as a kid because the Khayelitsha Sports Field on Pama Road was far away from my home in Makhaya. In order to practise there I had to walk or take transport. It was too dangerous to walk, and my parents could not afford the money for transport. In 1999 my Dad got a new job as the school Caretaker at Masiyile. I moved in with him and stayed at the school until 2014. The school is a 10 minute walk from Khayelitsha Sports Stadium, so I was finally allowed to go practise and old enough to be able to walk to the practise venue.
Despite the many challenges of playing cricket, I enjoyed every moment. I made new friends – some of whom I’m still coaching with at GKF. We became more like family. We have always had each other’s backs, on and off the field. We shared whatever we have as individuals. And we had the best coaches; Cyril Ntshidi,the late David Ramsey, Madoda Ndzolo and Simphiwe Mpekula were always welcoming and willing to help. Back then KCC had limited resources but each individual on the management team had a role. It was a great learning experience, seeing how the team worked together to get the admin done – David Ramsey the admin and Cyril Ntshidi the coaching – so that as players we were able to focus on our game.
The Khayelitsha Stadium was the only venue that had cricket facilities in the whole of Khayelitsha. We shared the field with rugby and soccer. At time those sports’ players would bully us as they were the most popular sports in the area. They would come and play and chase us away from the municipality field. At times even fixtures would be cancelled or abandoned. Cryil and David worked with the City Of Cape Town municipality and even got the police out to calm the situation.
As a cricketer, I have always been more of a batsman. I did some medium-paced bowling, but was always an average player and never got to play at the highest club levels. But, I have found my strengths as a coach. As a 21 year old in 2000, I would watch the KCC juniors on Saturday mornings. I would walk around the boundary advising the youngsters where to field, and give them tips. Those youngsters liked what I was doing. This motivated me to keep at it. That was where my passion for coaching developed.