CSA: SA U19s finalise World Cup preparation with tri-series

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Photo Credit: Cricket South Africa

South Africa Under-19 (SA U19) head coach Malibongwe Maketa says there are positive emotions in the national camp as they continue to prepare for the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024 that takes place on home soil starting next month. 

As part of their preparations, the young Proteas will compete in a 50-over tri-series involving Afghanistan and India, to be hosted at Old Edwardians Cricket Club in Johannesburg from 29 December – 10 January.  

“We are really excited and already there are some butterflies,” Maketa admitted as the World Cup countdown continues. “We finished the Khaya Majola Week around 10 days ago and the players were all relieved to come through with their health intact.  

“But from the whole group, the coaching staff and players, there is loads of excitement. We’re looking forward to the challenge ahead, starting with the tri-series. I always believe it is good to be slightly nervous, but we are very excited at the same time as well.”   

Some of the players expected to play a key role for South Africa are the likes of Kwena Maphaka, Steve Stolk and Lhuan-dre Pretorius, who were all picked up by SA20 teams for the second edition of the high-profile league that begins in early January. 

Maketa, whose side play Afghanistan in their first match of the tri-series on Sunday, admits that extra expectations will be on the trio. 

“We are very excited by the whole squad,” he says. “We believe that we have put together a good team.  

“I know people will gravitate around the names that are familiar to them, the likes of Kwena, Steve and Lhuan-dre, all of whom have been picked up by SA20 teams.  

“Richard Seletswane is a young batter who did really well for us in Bangladesh, and has come up in leaps and bounds, so these are some of the guys that will have added pressure, but it is earned pressure after they have done well.” 

A little under a year ago, South Africa hosted another World Cup – the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023 – where the Proteas reached the final. It is a performance that has inspired Maketa and his team as they look towards delivering something similar for the South African public. 

“We draw a lot of inspiration from our senior Proteas teams, both men and women,” he added. 

“We saw the women do so well at the World Cup on home soil last year, we saw how the whole country was galvanised by their performance and that gave them that extra push to get into the final.  

“We feel similar to that and we want to approach the finals in the same way where we feel that knowing the conditions will help us. Even though we know there will be expectation because we are at home, we want to embrace that pressure, we want to play good cricket and reward the people that come support us.  

“The same can be said about the Proteas in India where they had the whole country rally behind them after building up with one good performance after another to show that they can do it. We will be aiming to go one better here and possibly even win the competition.” 

Maketa’s side are drawn in Group B for the World Cup, alongside England, Scotland and West Indies, who they begin their campaign against at the JB Marks Oval in Potchefstroom on 19 January. 

SA U19 Men’s Squad – Tri-series and ICC U19 Men’s World Cup 2024 

David Teeger (captain, Lions), Esosa Aihevba (Lions), Juan James (Western Province), Martin Khumalo (Easterns), Kwena Maphaka (Lions), Dewan Marias (Easterns), Nqobani Mokoena (KwaZulu-Natal Coastal), Riley Norton (Boland),  Romashan Pillay (KwaZula-Natal Coastal), Sipho Potsane (Lions), Lhuan-dre Pretorius (Lions), Richard Seletswane (Lions), Steve Stolk (Titans), Oliver Whitehead (Western Province), and Ntando Zuma (KwaZulu-Natal Inland). 

Youth Tri-series Fixtures 

Friday, 29 December  

India U19 beat Afghanistan U19 by 6 wickets – Old Edwardians Cricket Club, Johannesburg  

Sunday, 31 December  

South Africa U19 v Afghanistan U19 – Old Edwardians Cricket Club, Johannesburg  

Tuesday, 02 January  

South Africa U19 v India U19 – Old Edwardians Cricket Club, Johannesburg  

Thursday, 04 January  

India U19 v Afghanistan U19 – Old Edwardians Cricket Club, Johannesburg  

Saturday, 06 January  

South Africa U19 v India U19 – Old Edwardians Cricket Club, Johannesburg  

Monday, 08 January  

South Africa U19 v Afghanistan U19 – Old Edwardians Cricket Club, Johannesburg  

Wednesday, 10 January  

Final – Old Edwardians Cricket Club, Johannesburg  

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