Baseball proves a hit

HOME RUN: American coach Zach Graefser shows Mdantsane boys some baseball batting skills at Sakhile Primary School Picture:SUPPLIED

BASEBALL champion and Eagles coach Lwazi Mlondolozi launched the Billie Magengelele Baseball Revival Programme on Sunday at Sakhile Primary School in Mdantsane.

“We want to revive this sport in the entire Eastern Cape and at the same time make sure that Mr Magangelele’s legacy lives on. I joined coaching because of him. There was no competition beyond high school, so he helped me get my coaching career off the ground,” Mlondolozi said.

He said Magengelele was his coach during his playing days and he used the sport to keep them off the streets. “I am grateful for that, and I want to continue his work.

“We didn’t have to focus on things like drinking or smoking or drugs. Hence I felt the need to continue with the sport and initiate such a programme. That is what we are trying to do with the launch of the programme for the young people of Mdantsane, to prevent them from resorting to any form of criminal activities,” Mlondolozi said .

In 2014 , Mlondolozi started off with eight schools who were interested in the sport. Now there are approximately 20 schools that are willing to participate. Mlondolozi says the only challenges they are facing are lack of support and equipment.

“We have invited an assistant coach from St Louis Community College in the United Sates of America, Zach Grafeser, to share some knowledge and skills on the game.”

“The Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture (DSRAC) is helping us as they provide us with transport and accommodation during our visits to other districts. But for major events like going to national tournaments, it’s not easy because they say baseball is not part of their priority codes.”

“The aim now is to maintain the schools that we have and try to get a few that we think we can manage and also try to find sponsors that are willing to assist us. At the moment we have support from the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) that is assisting in terms of coaches.

” I have three coaches that get a stipend from EPWP, so they go around coaching in schools during school time”, Mlondolozi concluded.

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