The Gary Kirsten Sports Centre in Khayelitsha features ease of construction and sustainable materials and has the capacity to be extended if needed.

The structure was conceptualised, designed, fabricated and installed by Cousins Steel International (Pty) Ltd in conjunction with the team at GKCA.

Gary Kirsten Foundation launches artificial cricket oval in Khayelitsha

In 2020 the Gary Kirsten Foundation (GKF) opened an R4,5 million artificial turf in Khayelitsha as part of a Centre of Cricket Excellence at Chris Hani Secondary School. Gary Kirsten said it was his mission to establish first-class facilities that would give children an equal chance in the game of cricket.

In partnership with the then-headmaster of Chris Hani Secondary School, Madoda Mahlutshana, the first nets were built in Khayelitsha. Five years later, 400 children play cricket regularly at five school locations under the guidance of eight employed GKF coaches, where outdoor nets have been installed. A strong women’s team is also emerging, and some girls have already achieved provincial representation.

The facility

The Gary Kirsten Foundation contacted Adam Oldfield, a structural engineer at Cousins Steel International, to assist in the design and supply of a high-performance training facility at Chris Hani Secondary School in Khayelitsha. The facility and artificial cricket pitch were constructed in partnership with HomeChoice, the main sponsor, and the Gary Kirsten Cricket Academy (GKCA).

The facility provides coaching and leadership development to underprivileged children in the area, as well as a facility for touring teams and players to access the coaching services.

The project received a Steel Award for community enrichment and development from the SAISC, as the structure / facility forms the base around which the inspiring work done by the GKCA revolves. As structural steel is an environmentally-friendly medium, this lightweight structure is seen to be a symbol of possibility and hope for developing sportsmen and women.

Centre of Cricket Excellence

The Centre of Cricket Excellence allows the Gary Kirsten Foundation to create a world-class hub for township cricket in the region, serving the surrounding community. The artificial cricket oval is made possible by the generosity of the sponsor, HomeChoice, and is the first of its kind in the country, hosting local matches, events and tournaments.

Many cricketers from Khayelitsha and other townships have been identified and given scholarships and bursaries to attend privileged schools, but they are displaced from their communities. The Centre of Cricket Excellence and the GKF provide a facility whereby local community cricketers do not have to be away from their homes and familiar environments.

Interesting facts:

  • This world-class training facility offers children the opportunity to exceed without being displaced.
  • The centre features ease of construction and sustainable materials.
  • A strong women’s team is emerging, and some girls have achieved provincial representation.

Project team

Cousins Steel International (Pty) Ltd.

For more information on the project, click on the link: https://youtu.be/-Y9mR0q8sjU

Full acknowledgement and thanks go to https://www.saisc.co.za for the information in this editorial.

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