Soweto Pioneer: The Cricket tag for native South Africans

 . Last updated on November 21, 2017, 2:17 PM
Soweto Pioneer: The Cricket tag for native South Africans
Koketso Muller is the brain behind Soweto Pioneer Cricket Club.

It is not a codified apartheid in South African cricket, but the fact that since 1991 readmission only 8 players of Test team were blacks among 98 players. It has been only 26 years that South Africa lifted the ban of natives to include in the national team. The paltry number native players under Cricket South Africa is a concerning situation for the aboriginals, if not for the others. The creation of clubs like the Soweto Cricket Club had a strong reason to do away with a systematic, but off-the-records, discrimination. However, the establishment ran down due to improper management or inability to sustain.

Two new clubs in Soweto emerged to fuel cricket among the natives. Gauteng Cricket Board and Dobsonville Cricket Club has been on top of Soweto Cricket Club as the new faces of the game. The two institutions were merged in the beginning of 2016-17 season under name of Soweto Pioneer Cricket Club, adding to the old legacy. As there is an initiative to revive the game, the roadblocks to the process are emerging gradually. Finance came up as the most severe issue to keep up the game. With a sorry state of financing, the club is running out of money for equipment, coaches, even nutrition. Above this, logistic costs and maintenance of the facility are becoming unaffordable for the management.

Behind the merger was Koketso Muller, inspired by historian Lewis Manthata. Mullar knows that to make cricket popular among the natives, they must rise beyond the ‘ceilings.’ He wanted to dissolve the two new clubs completely to create a brand-new Club in Soweto. The decision changed further when Thabang Moroe became the CEO of Cricket South Africa.

The Soweto Club along with Dobsonville were transformed as feeders and development hubs of Soweto Pioneers Club. The merger was not without rifts as both the clubs were not on the same page to surrender their old legacies. The Soweto Cricket Club produced cricketers like Khaya Majola and Geoffrey Toyana. It was harder for the club to let go their brand name. This issue was tackled with the choice of name. ‘Soweto Pioneer’ came into existence finally.

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