Zim's own IPL: Rego

HARARE - The Daily News’s Jeffrey Muvundusi recently caught up with the Old Mutual Heath Streak Cricket Trust chief executive officer Joseph Rego.

Rego was talking about the impact the Old Mutual Heath Streak T20 Africa Cup tournament which ended yesterday and compared it to the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Below are the excerpts of the interview.

Q: Tell us more about the tournament.

A: Yes. Our flagship tournament “Old Mutual Heath Streak Africa Cup” is undoubtedly the most popular youth cricket brand in Africa. The rapidly growing cricket extravaganza has been attracting prestigious academies from across Africa. The tournament is a combination of cricket, fun and entertainment. Consumer youth brands have been eying this event closely as they realise the high potential to market and advertise their brands as their target audience would be kids.

Q: You recently compared the tournament to a youth IPL tournament.

A: As a professional academy it is our vision to identify, nurture and groom young talent offering them the opportunity to reach their full potential and one day represent the nation at the international level with pride.

We firmly believe in grassroots level development and age groups structures.

Our overseas tours offer youngsters immense international exposure and enhance their ability to play competitive cricket.

Africa Cup in true sense is a great platform for young budding cricketers to be a part of an International cricket tournament where you have to fight and perform in challenging conditions.

IPL is all about competitive cricket and here in Zimbabwe we are exposing our youngsters from across Africa to a different style of cricket, facing fierce challenges and competition which is almost similar to the Indian Premier League.

The Old Mutual Heath Streak Africa Cup being a highly competitive tournament allows youngsters to play against top players from all the teams.

Q: Do you plan to host this prestigious tournament annually?

A: The tournament has been growing in leaps and bounds. Prestigious academies from across Africa have expressed their desire to be a part of this ever growing brand.

Even cricket boards from other African nations are looking at participating in this tournament in the next edition.

The Old Mutual Heath Streak Africa Cup Brand is firmly itched in the mind of cricket lovers across the African continent and corporate support has been overwhelming as their brands leverage adequate mileage and publicity by being associated with this prestigious tournament.

The theme of the tournament is serious cricket, fun and entertainment and the corporate sector is convinced that our tournament showcases quality and image of the highest standard.

And as mentioned earlier the event possesses all the qualities of a youth IPL in the making.

Hosting the tournament annually will generate a new breed of young cricketers geared to play competitive cricket as they grow older and mature.

Q: Tell us more about the Africa Cup?

A: Eight nations namely Zimbabwe, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique are participating this year.

The popular tournament is growing in leaps and bounds and it is our endeavour to include one additional nation every edition to make sure Old Mutual Heath Streak Africa Cup finds a berth on the global cricketing map as the largest Under-14 inter-nation cricket tournament in the world.

Q: How did the inaugural tournament go?

A: The inaugural edition of the prestigious Under-14 cricket extravaganza was held in May 2015 on Africa Day. Three participating nations — Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana, children and parents from as many as 100 schools from across the country, the presence of distinguished dignitaries and sports personalities and support from the corporate sector ensured that the tournament showcased quality and image of the highest standards.

Team Fazak Zimbabwe won the inaugural edition by defeating South Africa in a thrilling final. Corporate support has been a key factor to the success of this growing brand.

The Old Mutual Heath Streak Africa Cup is a revolution in youth cricket and creates an atmosphere of a mini IPL in Zimbabwe with participating teams from various African nations all up for grabs by the corporate sector wanting to sponsor them.

Q: Any new changes or additions to this year’s tournament?

A: The 2017 edition features prestigious academies from Botswana, Zambia and Namibia with Fazak Zimbabwe retaining franchise of Team Zimbabwe. The other franchises are Team Eco Bank Namibia, Team Choppies Botswana and Team Pepsi Zambia.

The highlight after the finals will be the winners of Africa Cup play a T20 exhibition game against the Old Mutual Heath Streak Development Team selected from 20 top cricket playing schools from high density suburbs.

The tournament has been dubbed youth IPL and is serious cricket, fun and entertainment for the whole family. Admission to the tournament is free. Come and cheer our little cricketing heroes from across Africa during the hero’s day holidays.

Q: With Heath Streak now at the helm of coaching the national cricket team, I’m sure this must be a positive impact on the youngsters?

 A: It doesn’t make a difference. Heath is a legend in the world of cricket. During his playing days he was an outstanding cricketer globally popular. Currently he is a top rated coach in the world.

His performance speaks for itself. In two years time he changed the fortunes of Bangladesh Cricket and now Zimbabwe has tasted sweet success because of his wealth of experience, unique talent and brilliant coaching abilities.

Our children draw inspiration from his name and his presence at the academy enhances the self-confidence of coaches and kids training there.

Q: What is the proposed Heath Streak Cricket Training Centre and International Cricket Stadium in Harare all about?

 A: Old Mutual is “title sponsors” to this brand which is now christened Old Mutual Heath Streak Cricket Training Centre and International Cricket Stadium.

The training centre emphasises on structured grassroots level development and the formation of age groups.

The academy focuses on identifying, nurturing and grooming talent. We believe in a coaching education approach that targets individuals both male and female eight to 16 years of age who are seriously interested in the game of cricket which takes the targeted players through a set of disciplinary, dietary, mental, psychological, technical and physical fitness activities.

A coaching approach geared towards enhancing their technical skills level and upon improving their abilities and capabilities to appropriately and effectively apply themselves under various match situations regarding tactics, strategy, game pressure and general game context requirements.

The need to expose our cricketers with cricketing interests, knowledge and methodologies that can be utilised to develop a high level of professionalism. Nominate players to attend provincial age-group trials relevant to ability and potential.

Inspire corporate companies to incorporate sport and education into their community responsibility programmes.
We are passionate about the sport and our aim is to ensure that our talented cricketers have the very best opportunities and a first-class future which will help Zimbabwe regain her past sporting glory. This is our vision and our road map.

Heath Streak International has selectively identified the Sunrise Sports Club, a ceremonial home to cricket for decades. Cricket is undoubtedly the biggest sport in Asia and is also a popular global sport watched live and viewed on television by billions of fans across the world.

The Heath Streak International Cricket Stadium will be a home to first-class cricket and International teams in the coming years.

It is our dream to gift the cricket-loving youth of our nation world-class infrastructure and a stadium that would be a home to youth cricket.Zim’s own IPL: Rego

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