21 June 2024,

The first ball of the u13 Sunfoil Hub Tournament was bowled in 2012 at the Elkah Stadium, Soweto. Set to take place this time around at Lenasia Stadium from 25 – 27 June 2024, the T20 tournament will feature teams from 7 hubs as well as an u16 Ladies Invitational team.

The participating hubs include Dobsonville hub; Soweto hub; Central hub; Alexandra hub; South hub; Westrand hub and Sedibeng hub – all of which operate within the Lions Cricket eco-system spanning the various townships. Each hub services a community with an area of jurisdiction of a CSA Affiliate or Associate so says Service Cricket Manager for Lions Cricket, Reuben Mandlazi;

“Our objective is to develop and also maintain effective mass participation programmes from grassroot level right through to senior cricket. It’s about broadening the game of cricket amongst the Black communities; developing quality Black African cricketers who will contribute positively towards the Lions/CSA pipeline plan and also to support the CSA Transformation Agenda. The T20 format was decided as it’s an attractive format to young players, whilst ensuring an adequate amount of playing opportunities are offered to all players within the respective squads.”

The addition of the u16 Ladies Invitational team to the 7 hub tournament line up, ensures that this age group continues to grow with the added playing time, experience and exposure.  With DP World Lions players such as Kgomotso Rapoo, Palesa Mapoo, Nonkululeko Thabethe and Refilwe Moncho all having previously played in this tournament, the success speaks for itself.

“Tournaments such as this one unearth talent,” says Mandlazi. “Played under pressure, character is built, and confidence elevates. Time and time again we witness those who’ve played in this tournament, go on to represent our Pride and our country. It is a critical age because it is the last stage of primary schools cricket. Every young player wants to exit primary schools cricket and enter the second phase with the advantage of having played A league cricket. More importantly, we get indications as to which players have the potential to excel.”

The tournament is one of the pride and joys of township cricket, indeed a life changing event for those recipients who will receive scholarships.

Lions Cricket CEO Jono Leaf-Wright says that this is a time for young talent to thrive, to play with freedom and perform with passion;

“The Sunfoil Hub Tournament which is powered by Telkom and many of our other great partners is a platform on which to express your love of the game; to build friendships; to dig deep; to live, lead, learn and love. It is a weekend on which heroes will be made, character will be built, and exceptional talent will be unearthed. Thank you to Sunfoil, DP World, McDonald’s, Joburg Tourism and many of our other great partners. A special thank you to Telkom for your unwavering support of this tournament and the Telkom Talent Acceleration Programme. To all our partners: Without your backing and belief, this tournament would not be possible. What a collective effort this tournament is, with each of you adding tremendous value and walking this journey of excellence with us. At Lions Cricket, we are exceptionally proud of our pipeline and the power of our Hubs. Serving as our feeder systems; the energy, excellence and experience that we plough into our youth are beyond measure and the very breeding ground for continued and future success.”

With a rain interrupted 2023 final leading to the sharing of the trophy between Westrand hub and Sedibeng hub, you can be rest assured that the pressure is on and that the hunger to hunt down the trophy is stronger than ever before.