L impopo Impala Cricket (LIC) held a prestigious awards ceremony at the new Peter Mokaba Stadium on Friday where the top cricket players were honoured for their dedication and hard work throughout the past season.
The annual event, supervised by Mmaphuti Mashamaite, was attended by, among others, Bizhub Highveld Lions coach Geoff Toyana, Limpopo Impala Cricket board member, Lyndon Ferns, Unlimited Titans Cricket Operations Manager Volvo Masubelele, Unlimited Titans Assistant Coach Mandla Mashimbyi and LIC President John Mogodi.
No less than 28 prizes and awards were presented to players in four categories, Mini Cricket, Schools Cricket, Club Cricket and Senior Provincial levels following a question and answer session where the guests could ask Toyana, Masubelele and Mashimbyi questions relating to the sport.
In his opening speech, Coaching Manager at LIC Dumile Skade stated the purpose of the event to be: “Awards are a way to encourage good behaviour and inculcate competitive spirit. This is the reason why the LIC organises award ceremonies every year, to encourage its performers.” In closing he quoted author and former football coach Marv Levy: “Persistence can change failure into extraordinary achievement.”
Mogodi reflected on the past season: “Cricket facilities remain a huge challenge in our province and this has a knock on effect on the number of cricket games that a player can play during the season.” He went on to explain the benefits Polokwane as a city and the cricket clubs would receive if the city could host high profile games. He further stated that “As from May each age group, from u.11 to u.19, will have full time coaches.”
The highlight of the evening was Toyana’s speech in which he related how, as a player, he struggled with transport problems and early mornings to arrive at cricket practice on time but persisted until he reached his goals despite losing his contract as player twice in critical stages of his life.
In the Mini Cricket category Tshepo Pudikabewa and Vhembe Distict shared the award for Best Newcomer 2016/17 and Mankweng was awarded the Committee of the Year. Highlights of the Schools Cricket category included Regional Team Players of the year 2016 u.13 Jan Grobler and for u.13 girls Elandri Janse van Rensburg. In the Provincial Team Players of the Year, the u.13 age group was won by Khaif Patel, u.15 by Tiaan Enslin, u.17 Gustav Prinsloo and u.19 Sahil Patel. The u.19 girl Regional Team Player of the Year was awarded to Mone van Niekerk. The Hornbills Cricket Club was named Limpopo Impala Cricket Premier League winners for 2016/17 while the Phoenix Cricket Club was named Promotional League winners.
In the Senior Provincial category, Tsotetsi took home the LIC Senior Woman’s Players Player of the Year award and Theo Janse van Rensburg the Men’s Players Player of the Year.
The complete list of awards is available on www.observer.co.za.
Story and photos: THINUS DU TOIT