SA first: Central Gauteng Lions women’s team get professional contractsThe Social Media Company
In a historic moment for women’s cricket in South Africa, the Central Gauteng Lions senior women’s team will become the first local provincial women’s team to receive professional contracts.
This first for South Africa is thanks to the Central Gauteng Lions sponsor, logistics company, Imperial. Imperial also sponsors the men’s team and took over the naming of the Wanderers Stadium recently, along with financing a number of eco-friendly upgrades for the sporting venue.
The move was widely welcomed, with the benefits it held for women’s cricket in South Africa being highlighted.
Off-spinner for the Central Gauteng Lions women’s team, Raisibe Ntozakhe – who is also a cricket coach at Queens High School in Johannesburg – hailed the knock-on effect professional contracts would have, both in the development of cricket among girls in schools, as well as in improving the overall quality of the game in South Africa.
Speaking to Daily Maverick, Ntozakhe said, “I’d like to see more girls’ schools allowing girls to play cricket. Because it’s not many schools that have a main focus on cricket, like Queens does. If that could happen, and also to have more younger players coming into school. I’d love to have more upcoming players from under-13 and have a build up, and not just players who are under-16 and under-19. But rather have your under-13s and groom them into better cricketers, and more mature cricketers.
“This will raise a huge bar. We do have quality now, but to bring something into it, it will create awareness that you can make a career out of it… It’ll create a huge opportunity to create more professional players and a lot of professionalism within the provincial structure, and not have a huge gap in terms of provincial cricket and the national team,” said Ntozakhe.