Photo Credit: Lions Cricket
We hear from the Pride’s leadership about the pre-season prep and quest for domestic dominance
Lions Cricket today celebrated the mighty Pride’s that will proudly, passionately and professionally represent the #PrideOfJozi this 2023/24 season.
Taking place pitch side and in the presence of the Lions brass band, the launch was a Lions family affair inclusive of the Lions Cricket Union’s sponsors, partners and stakeholders as well as players, administrators, media and friends of the Pride. Showcasing the season that was and the celebration of 7 trophies, much razzmatazz was added with the players donning the new kit. The One Day kit proudly depicts the topography of Johannesburg, and the bold T20 kit carries the Lions mane on top of one’s shoulders.
Perhaps the most celebrated news was that of women’s cricket now fully professionalized in South Africa at domestic level, with DP World Lions ladies Head Coach, Shaun Pretorius noting that his ladies are ready to thrill through and through;
“Our objective this season is to reverse the narrow losses into wins, earning valuable log points as we do so. We’ve worked tirelessly behind the scenes, going back to the drawing board and learning how to right our wrongs. I look forward to seeing some new additions in our line up with Sinalo Jafta, Chloe Tryon and Shabnim Ismail ready to roar as well as several club performers earning a squad call up. It’s an exciting time ahead as the professional domestic women’s structure is upon us this season with 11 fully contracted players, a larger management team and a resolute focus on quality cricket all round. I believe that we will play with PRIDE and face every challenge head on. Lastly, I wish only great things for all players this season – let’s do this!”
DP World Lions Men’s head coach Russell Domingo says that pre-season has been fantastic with focused players working hard and smart;
“I believe that the players have enjoyed the pre-season training with our in-depth conversations and methods of training. On a personal level, I have been suitably impressed by the depth of talent available, not just in the contracted squad but with some of the HP players, colts, academy and school boy players we’ve hosted in the last few sessions. Winning is obviously of paramount importance, but developing players to not just play for our Province but to become great players at Protea level and on the international stage is very important for us. We also want to play a brand of cricket that is exciting to watch and be solid role models not just for aspiring cricketers, but for people in all walks of life in South Africa.”
Regarding the pipeline, Domingo says there’s a great deal of talent and quality in the system;
“Retaining the talent within our region is a key goal of ours, as is the growth of our players by providing them with powerful playing opportunities. I am thoroughly enjoying the current management group: Assistant coach Jimmy (Kgamadi) knows the system and has been invaluable in assisting me understand the group dynamic and systems. Strength and Conditioning trainer Nandile (Tyali) is highly experienced and has worked extremely hard at getting the players in shape. High Performance Video Analyst Prasana (Agoram) is world class and gives each player insight into their own technical game and what the gaps are of the opposition players and how to expose them. Champion Physio Ziyaad (Mohamed) has the magic hands keeping all our players match ready. Team Doctor (Dr Dhavina) and Manager (Amit) rounds off a great support team next to me. Add the worldclass Hashim Amla – his calming influence and a man who has already imparted so much knowledge and expertise to the group. We are really fortunate to have a diverse group of coaches and management, each bringing their own
ingredient to the group. Regarding the 3 formats of the game, obviously we want to compete for silverware in all 3 competitions. We have the players; the key will be how we connect as a team and work towards a common goal. We are really excited and positive about our prospects in all formats and cannot wait for the season to get underway.”
Turning our attention to the powerful pipeline, Lions Cricket Service Manager Reuben Mandlazi says the season will be a competitive one for all involved;
“We will kick the season off with the area cricket week trials and festivals – a platform used to select our respective provincial and regional teams to represent Lions Cricket at various
nationwide tournaments. Then there’s the long-awaited academy and colts fixtures as well as the Lions Blind Cricket and Lions Deaf Cricket teams both of which will look to retain their respective championship trophies. To this seasons coaches: We recognise the crucial role that you play and thank you for your dedication in coaching players both technically and tactically and assisting with the physical, emotional, social and cognitive development of your team. In closing, I would like to wish all the teams and participants the best of luck for the new season. Do not forget to enjoy the journey as well as the challenges that come with it.”
In closing, Lions Cricket CEO Jono Leaf-Wright says that every team, every brand, every individual under the Lions Cricket umbrella is ‘roaring’ to go;
“We are hugely excited for the season ahead and promise our fans that we’ll top the scoreboard both inside and outside the boundary ropes. Our iconic DP World Wanderers Stadium will host some brilliant domestic cricket in all formats as well as some incredible international content with the Proteas taking on Australia on 17 September for an ODI; India for a T20 on 14 December, and our one-of-a-kind Pink Day ODI on 17 December vs India. If that isn’t enough, we’ll have unbeatable off-field matchday entertainment; quality cricket; safe, family-friendly environments; tremendous value for money and a Pride that welcomes all with open arms. Our teams are fit and ready to let the Lion ROAR for domestic dominance.”
Upon declaring the season open, those present at the season launch were treated to an explosion of coloured smoke and the joyous chaos of confetti bombs spraying over them. True to the Lions promise of an action-packed season ahead, the beautiful blue Joburg skies came alive with the cracks, the colour, the razzle-dazzle that is: LIONS CRICKET.
DP World Mens 2023/24 squad:
Temba Bavuma (Protea); Reeza Hendricks (Protea); Rassie van der Dussen (Protea);
Kagiso Rabada (Protea); Bjorn Fortuin (Protea); Sisanda Magala (Protea);
Ryan Rickelton (Protea); Dominic Hendricks; Wiaan Mulder; Lutho Sipamla; Junaid Dawood; Zubayr Hamza; Tsepo Ndwandwa; Tshepo Moreki; Delano Potgieter; Joshua Richards; Mitch Van Buuren; Duanne Olivier; Codi Yusuf; Evan Jones; Malusi Siboto; Connor Esterhuizen; Muhammad Manack.
DP World Women’s 2023/24 squad:
Ayabonga Khaka (Protea); Tumi Sekhukhune (Protea); Chloe Tryon (Protea); Sinalo Jafta (Protea); Shabnim Ismail; Raisibe Ntozakhe; Kgomotso Rapoo; Lehlohonolo Sardick; Palesa Mapoo; Sarah Nettleton; Jenna Evans; Nonkululeko Thabethe; Kirstie Thomson; Sunette Viljoen-Louw; Jameelah Shaikjee; Samantha Schutte; Madison Landsman; Refilwe Moncho; Sarah Barber; Karabo Meso; Diara Ramlakan; Bianca Booyjens; Relebohile Mkhize; Thristan Cronje.
High Performance Mens Players for the 2023/24 season:
Wandile Makwetu; Cole Abrahams; Nqaba Peter; Marco Van Biljon; Ronan Herrmann