Fast bowler Siphe Mzayidume of East Oxford Cricket Club based in England is currently in Botswana for a talent identification programme.
In an interview with BG Sport this week, the international cricketer said his wish is to identify young cricket players who will later get the opportunity to visit England for a six months cricket training programme.
The South African athlete who has been living in England for more than a decade said it is time to return home (Africa) and give back to his own people.
Asked why he was not taking the programme to his own country (SA), Mzayidume said SA is a major cricketing nation that is exposed to so many opportunities.
Through intense research, the player said he realised that Botswana is one of the countries still developing as far as cricket is concerned.
“I will not only be identifying talent in Botswana. My plan is to spread this project as far as Zambia and Zimbabwe. I will be doing it on an annual basis,” he said.
During his early days as a player, Mzayidume said he realised that most Africans adore the sport, however not all are brave enough to withstand challenges that come with playing a sport that is perceived as foreign or exotic.
Through his project Mzayidume hopes that local players will be absorbed into British Cricket Clubs or return to Botswana and empower other athletes. The 28-year-old Mzayidume further explained that he will be funding the programme through the assistance of his club East Oxford. The club he said will be providing accommodation, flights and organising some coaching work for the clubs. Speaking to BG Sport this week, Botswana Cricket Association (BCA) Chief Executive Officer Girish Ramakrishna said they are still in talks with the foreign player and have requested detailed documentation from him.
“We are yet to meet with him again so that he explains the whole project because we cannot just trust him with our children. Everything has to go through the right channels,” he said.
Nevertherless he said if Mzayidume’s programme is anything to go by, it will be a welcome initiative to his Association.
He said BCA is currently in need of sponsorships that will help grow the sport locally.