Picture: istock
Picture: istock

London — The venerable Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) will spend the equivalent of almost R900,000 over three years on development efforts at a school in Masiphumelele‚ an impoverished township 45km from Cape Town.

"The project will introduce a proper coaching structure‚ together with the provision of equipment‚ kit and the construction of three cricket nets‚" the MCC said in a statement.

Former fast bowler Vincent van der Bijl‚ a member of MCC’s world cricket committee‚ is driving the plan. "It is essential that any project the club undertakes has a visionary figurehead and helps promote the game in areas where it is not straightforward to obtain conventional funding: the Masiphumelele project at Ukhanyo Primary School is a perfect example‚" the statement quoted MCC CEO and secretary Derek Brewer as saying.

"With Vince van der Bijl providing inspirational leadership‚ and with his knowledge‚ dedication and commitment‚ the club’s three-year investment can make a very real difference and help lay the foundations for a sustainable future."

MCC has pledged to create opportunities for its members and staff to spend time at Ukhanyo‚ which will be twinned with schools in the UK. Cricket equipment will be collected at Lord’s and distributed at Ukhanyo‚ and MCC will encourage teams to visit Masiphumelele when on tour.

The township‚ between Kommetjie and Fish Hoek on the Cape peninsula‚ is home to about 40,000 people. Ukhanyo‚ its only primary school‚ was meant to accommodate 460 pupils; its current enrolment is 1,800.

MCC‚ which bills itself as "the world’s most active cricket-playing club"‚ has mounted similar efforts in Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.

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