DURBAN: The tale of the two Khumalo’s in the Coca-Cola South Africa under-19 team continues as Thamsanqa and Mondli Khumalo express their joy and excitement ahead of their first overseas trip.
The pair will be a part of the squad that is preparing to travel to the United Kingdom to face England in a Youth Test and One-Day International series from 08-29 July.
The promising cricketers, who are the fruits of the KwaZulu-Natal Cricket Union and the Sunfoil Township and Rural Development Programme, assembled with the rest of the squad in Pretoria this week, as they got their final preparations underway with a three-day warm-up match against the Northerns Senior Provincial team at the Groenkloof Oval.
“It’s been great,” says Thamsanqa, with a sunny smile. “The preparation has been good. We are gelling well as a team and everything has just been perfect. I am very excited and it’s an honour and a privilege to be in the SA U19s side.”
Thamsanqa (18) is currently completing his matric year at Glenwood High School, thanks to his Sunfoil Education Trust bursary. The opening batsman was selected for the scholarship while representing KZN at under 13A, before going on to be capped at under 15A, 17A and the prestigious Coca-Cola Khaya Majola Week.
“That literally changed my whole life (SET scholarship to Glenwood),” he says. “I didn’t expect I’d be going to a high school like Glenwood but I am there now and it is all because of Sunfoil. It is also because of Sunfoil that I am here at the U19s. They did everything for me, paid for my school fees and anything I needed at school.
“Probably, if it wasn’t for the Sunfoil Education Trust, I wouldn’t be here,” he concluded.
Mondli Khumalo (17), is no stranger to the U19 set-up, having represented the side in September last year during a triangular series featuring England and Namibia.
The fast bowler credits the involvement of the KZNCU, DSR and Sunfoil Township and Rural Development Programme, his coach from the Umlazi Cricket Club and Maritzburg College for his progress through the KZN ranks, all the way up to the national level.
“They (Maritzburg College) have been really good to me,” Mondli stated. “Not only do they pay for my school fees (at Maritzburg College) and everything, but they help a lot with my cricket as well. They make sure I am happy at all times and I can just focus on my education and on my cricket.
“My old coach at Umlazi, Sandile (Simelane), was also big for me. Without him, I don’t think I would have played cricket and been able to play at this sort of level.”
The inclusion of Thamsanqa in the national U19 squad to England is another feather in the Sunfoil Education Trust programme’s cap after Andile Mogakane featured for the team at this year’s ICC U19 World Cup. KZNCU Township and Rural Development Manager Sanelisiwe Kuzwayo expressed her delight for the boys last month when they were named in the touring squad.
“This is such a huge achievement for the boys,” she said. “Moreover, it is a huge achievement for our programme and bears testament to the fact that we are producing results.”
“Our coaches work tirelessly, and in addition to coaching, they also play a mentorship role in the lives of our cricketers this is a proud moment for them too.”