Gary Kirsten Foundation and HomeChoice appoint Turftech to install South Africa’s first fullsize cricket field to empower Khayelitsha learners
In line with its drive to introduce cricket to disadvantaged communities countrywide, the Gary Kirsten Foundation (GKF), in partnership with HomeChoice, appointed Sports Contractor Turftech to installed a Rhino-Turf synthetic cricket pitch at Chris Hani Secondary School in Khayelitsha, Western Cape.
“This was such a rewarding installation that will truly benefit South Africa’s most deserving youngsters,” said Phillip Prinsloo, Sales Manager for Turftech. “Every child deserves the opportunity to develop and grow through sports, with the advantage of playing on a world-class surface. The Gary Kirsten Foundation and HomeChoice have ensured the children of Khayelitsha are given this opportunity by choosing Turftech’s artificial surface - designed by our partners Rhino-Turf - as a first-choice installation.”
The installation, which was officially unveiled on Friday, 28 February, provides the youth with a full- size, synthetic cricket oval which will form part of the Centre of Cricket Excellence programme at Chris Hani Secondary School. The pitch allows for simultaneous practice sessions and multiple matches of mini-cricket if needed.
The school is located in Khayelitsha, a township that is home to almost a million people residing in disadvantaged circumstances. It was selected by Gary Kirsten five years ago when he visited on a fact-finding mission. Commenting on the project, Kirsten said: “I was shocked not to find one sports field in the township. It became my mission to establish first class facilities that would give kids an equal chance at the game of cricket.”
He said it was a no brainer’ to go with Turftech’s synthetic pitch when it was decided that the project would go ahead: “This was an expensive build but the scale of cost over 10 years sees the overall cost drop dramatically when compared to a grass field. These days synthetic turf is so advanced. It’s a beautiful outfield – not too quick – and it’s also not a cement pitch. It’s gravel-based so there’s not too much bounce. It’s as replicative of a grass surface as possible.
He described Turftech ‘the best in the business in South Africa’ and said the decision to go with them was based on their extensive project experience: “Their passion and energy for the project was very evident from the start.”
The superior playing surface and enhanced aesthetics of the Turftech installation are accompanied by long-term cost savings, as mentioned by Kirsten. With no need for re-surfacing or watering needed, schools are saving on maintenance costs, while also benefitting from the property value-enhancement associated with the surface.
Founder of HomeChoice, Rick Garratt, decided to partner with Kirsten, a long-time friend, on the project. He was impressed by Kirsten’s vision to create this world-class playing field at the school, and, in support of this initiative, HomeChoice sponsored the R4.5m needed for the installation.
“Having this facility at Chris Hani Secondary School will assist talented and aspiring youngsters, in the surrounding areas and townships, who dream of becoming professional cricketers the opportunity to make that dream come true,” said Garratt.
Former principal of Chris Hani Secondary School, Madoda Mahlutshana, described the new Turftech installation as a ‘depiction of resilience’ and a ‘symbol of hope’ for the school children residing in one of the most impoverished areas. In addition to the Turftech installation, funds have been raised to complete the Centre of Cricket Excellence, with construction of an indoor centre anticipated for May.
Although the project was activated by the GKF, this is a community project and will be run as such. Alongside Chris Hani Secondary School, four other schools in the area will benefit from use of the turf. These schools are all participating in the GKF project, funded by the National Department of Sports and Recreation.
Banner images: 1 & 2 : Students from the Gary Kirsten Foundation enjoy a game of cricket on their newly installed Rhino-Turf synthetic cricket pitch. Image:3 An Aerial photograph of the newly installed Rhino-Turf cricket field in Khayelitsha
For more information about Turftech’s superior natural and synthetic turf technology, visit www.turftech.co.za
For more information about the Gary Kirsten Foundation or to get involved in similar GKF-Turftech installation projects to promote cricket, visit www.garykirstenfoundation.org.za