Hard Work Pays Off for Baby Proteas

The SA under-19 cricket team has been awarded a R200 000 cheque for winning the ICC Junior World Cup final in Dubai earlier this month.

The Baby Proteas squad joined senior government officials from Joburg’s Park Station on an open bus showcasing their trophy, and headed towards Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton, where Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula presented the cheque to them.

“… We put these young players on an open bus because they deserve it and they are champions.

“This is what we are about as a nation – winning and winning for our people. We can’t ask for more when we talk about the foundation of building a success story for this great nation of the late former President Nelson Mandela,” said Minister Mbalula to great applause from the crowd.

He thanked the parents of the young cricket players for allowing them to share the moment of glory with their fellow South Africans.

“This is their story. They have a great future ahead of them. Cricket SA and government will look after them. We will never forget what they did for South Africa,” he said.

Asked how they managed to beat their opponents, the team’s captain, Aiden Markram, said: “I think it was just a balance of self-belief and discipline, with each player sticking to our game plan. At the end of the day, we were fortunate enough to be on the winning side.

“We had very good preparations ahead of the tournament, but after our first victory, the mood was very good at the camp. It gave us the winning momentum and fortunately, this also worked out very well for our team.”

Markram said the team is humbled by the support from the nation. “We never expected this overwhelming support at all and this makes us happy. We appreciate it, as this is one of our great moments in our lives.”

Markram said the bar has now been raised for the team to do even better. “We do feel the pressure … but as players, we will deal with it by ensuring that we divert such pressure by defeating our opponents.”

This victory speaks directly to the objectives of National Sport and Recreation Plan in addressing the development and transformation agenda and of recognising excellence in sport.

Source : SAnews.gov.za