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South Africa U19 side to draw inspiration from senior teams ahead of World Cup, says Malibongwe Maketa

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South Africa U19 side to draw inspiration from senior teams ahead of World Cup, says Malibongwe Maketa

Johannesburg, Dec 30 (Ajit Weekly News) Malibongwe Maketa, head coach of South Africa U19 men’s team, said his team will draw inspiration from the senior men’s and women’s teams to put up a good showing in the 2024U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup starting next month on home soil.

In January and February this year, South Africa hosted U19 Women’s T20 World Cup and the senior Women’s T20 World Cup, where the Proteas reached the final and captured a nation’s imagination with their performances.

“We draw a lot of inspiration from our senior Proteas teams, both men and women. We saw the women do so well at the World Cup on home soil last year, we saw how the whole country was galvanised by their performance and that gave them that extra push to get into the final.”

“We feel similar to that and we want to approach the finals in the same way where we feel that knowing the conditions will help us. Even though we know there will be expectation because we are at home, we want to embrace that pressure, we want to play good cricket and reward the people that come support us.”

“The same can be said about the Proteas in India where they had the whole country rally behind them after building up with one good performance after another to show that they can do it. We will be aiming to go one better here and possibly even win the competition,” said Maketa in a Cricket South Africa (CSA) release.

As part of their U19 World Cup preparations, the Proteas U19 team will compete in a 50-over ongoing tri-series involving Afghanistan and India, to be hosted at Old Edwardians Cricket Club in Johannesburg. South Africa will play the first game of their tri-series against Afghanistan on Sunday. Afghanistan were earlier beaten by India by six wickets in the tri-series opener on Friday.

“We are really excited and already there are some butterflies. We finished the Khaya Majola Week around 10 days ago and the players were all relieved to come through with their health intact.”

“But from the whole group, the coaching staff and players, there is loads of excitement. We’re looking forward to the challenge ahead, starting with the tri-series. I always believe it is good to be slightly nervous, but we are very excited at the same time as well,” added Maketa.

Some of the players expected to play a key role for South Africa are the likes of Kwena Maphaka, Steve Stolk and Lhuan-dre Pretorius, who were all picked up by SA20 teams for the second edition of the tournament starting in early January.

“We are very excited by the whole squad. I know people will gravitate around the names that are familiar to them, the likes of Kwena, Steve and Lhuan-dre, all of whom have been picked up by SA20 teams.”

“Richard Seletswane is a young batter who did really well for us in Bangladesh, and has come up in leaps and bounds, so these are some of the guys that will have added pressure, but it is earned pressure after they have done well,” concluded Maketa.

South Africa are drawn in Group B for the U19 Men’s World Cup, alongside England, Scotland and West Indies, who they begin their campaign against at the JB Marks Oval in Potchefstroom on January 19.

–Ajit Weekly News

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