Calypso Craze with Sporting Chance

More than 3000 children from disadvantaged communities will travel to the coast to take part in the 20th annual Sporting Chance Calypso Cricket Festival. Borne from a desire to introduce large numbers of kids to cricket and bring the various communities and cultures of South Africa together, the festival runs every day from Monday 13 until Friday 17 December on the Muizenberg (home of Calypso), Strand and Kommetjie beaches.

The Sporting Chance Calypso Cricket Festival, in association with Virgin Active, I&J and Supersport Let”s Play was started by Brad Bing of youth sports development agency Sporting Chance in 1990, and is an annual highlight for thousands of children who are bussed in from their communities to the beach to pit their cricketing skills against one another.

Aside from a trip to the beach for many children who would otherwise not have this kind of opportunity, the festival highlights Bing”s determination to encourage sport as a fixture in all children”s lives irrespective of race, gender or social class and to create an uplifting environment to bring various communities together.

Over the past 20 years the festival has also been recognised as a vehicle for identifying young sporting talent, for fostering a love of cricket and sport in general, and as an opportunity to provide a large number of children with a fun-filled holiday activity.

Thami Tsolekile, former Proteas wicketkeeper and current Lions” player was one of the first participants of the Calypso Cricket festival. Since then, the Calypso Cricket Festival has continued to identify natural talent and has facilitated the opportunity for 43 learners to go onto play provincial cricket at school level.

The Festival is a unique and fun adaptation of the conventional game. Employing most of the rules of cricket, Calypso Cricket is played on the beach with two teams of ten players each. This spirited game originated in the West Indies where it is played between different villages that gather in their hundreds for the event.

“Calypso Cricket is a unique approach to cricket coaching and one that has proven to be an exciting way of introducing young children, particularly from our emerging communities, to the game whilst providing them with a fun-filled holiday activity,” adds Bing. “It”s about hitting the ball hard – fielding in ankle-deep water and bowling with vigour – while dodging waves and making new friends in the process. ”

Participation in the programme is from the age of eight to 15, offering learners the opportunity to engage in a healthy and fun-filled lifestyle throughout those critical, formative years. The communities and clubs are therefore an integral part of the programme.

According Kim Webster CSR Manager for Virgin Active, Getting kids engaged in sports is a key way to get them excited about being active. “They have fun while gaining access to great coaching skills, which develop them as cricketers and ultimately encourages them to develop active lifestyles,” says Webster.

“We are over the moon to be celebrating 20 years of Calypso Cricket,” says Bing. “Every year we introduce new children to the programme and their participation and excitement is gratifying as Calypso Cricket continues to be a highlight in their lives. ”

Ron Fasol, CEO of I&J, adds. “Calypso Cricket provides children with a healthy and positive alternative to a sedentary and disruptive lifestyle. I&J is proud to be associated with the Calypso Cricket project that has a tremendous track record in assisting to improve the lives of thousands of South Africa”s children.

“The Calypso Cricket Festival is one of the many vehicles Sporting Chance employs throughout the year to give all children an equal opportunity to participate in team sports that teach essential skills that can be applied throughout their lives.

“Sport shows us the beauty of friendship, camaraderie and team spirit and it helps us to deal with the hardships of failure, frustration and disappointment and it is for these reasons that I&J support this project,” concludes Fasol.

The Calypso Cricket Festival takes place on the following dates :

* Monday 13 December: Main beach, Strand (children from Khayelitsha, Nomzano, Lwandle)

* Tuesday 14 December: Sunrise beach, Muizenberg (Langa, Elsies River)

* Wednesday 15 December: Sunrise beach, Muizenberg (Gugulethu, Mitchell”s Plain, Macassar)

* Thursday 16 December: Long beach, Kommetjie (Manenberg, Masiphumelele, Ocean View)

* Friday 17 December: Sunrise beach, Muizenberg (Nyanga and Kwezi)

For more information on the matches contact Natalie Pollock on 021 683 7299 or