Ntini still popular

2010-01-11 13:02

Johannesburg - Proteas fast bowler Makhaya Ntini, remains the most popular cricketer among the youth of South Africa, according to the latest BMI Junior SportTrack report for 2009, which lists him as the fourth most popular sportsman in South Africa.

Ntini , who was bowled over by the support from his many fans, said: "I truly appreciate the public's support. They have always been behind me throughout my career.

"I was touched by the support I received during my 100th Test celebration. They can be assured I will always give my 100% every time I play."

A number of cricketers have again been voted into the list of most popular sports stars among the youth, including Graeme Smith who moved up the ranks from ninth in 2008 to sixth in 2009.

Herschelle Gibbs, Jacques Kallis and JP Duminy also made it into the Top 20.

Cricket had no less than six stars in the list, with only soccer performing better with nine stars in the top 20.

Cricket participation has shown solid growth over the past year among juniors aged 13-18. The annual growth rate of 3.9% means cricket remains one of the fastest growing mass participation sports in the country.

There are currently 572 000 cricket participants at all levels of participation within this age group in South Africa making it a top five sport among the more than 40 sports codes BMI measures and reports on in their annual Junior Sporttrack report.

Cricket remains the second highest participation sport among boys behind soccer, still managing to remain ahead of rugby.

The highest growth is at club level, which has grown by almost 5% year on year, while school participation has grown at 3.4%. There has been a marked increase in coloured participation (9.9%) while black youth playing cricket also increased significantly (4.6%).

Commenting on the latest BMI Junior SportTrack Report, CSA president Dr Mtutuzeli Nyoka said: "Our vision is to make cricket a truly national sport of winners and to this end we will continue to work at all levels to ensure that we get closer to our goal with every effort and we encourage all communities to do something today that will shape tomorrow.

"Cricket builds character and the youth of today can benefit greatly from taking up this great sport.

"We have heroes like Ntini and Kallis who have made names for themselves in world cricket and they certainly stand out as role models along with Graeme Smith and the rest of the Proteas team."

A successful Proteas season (2008/09) resulted in growth in spectators as well among juniors aged 13-18 years old with a total following of 2.84 million.

Cricket remained the second most popular sport among junior spectators behind soccer.

While the overall spectator numbers among these juniors declined by over 2% in 2009 compared to 2008, cricket was one of only 12 codes to show growth, increasing by 3.1% year on year, with the highest percentage growth coming from white and Asian youth.

CSA CEO Gerald Majola said he was encouraged by the support for cricket shown by the youth.

"CSA is actively pursuing the emerging market of supporters and we are delighted with these encouraging statistics. The youth are asking CSA to communicate in new and innovative ways and this has translated in improving spectator numbers among our young supporters."


  • Steadfast - 2010-01-11 13:33

    Be very carefull of stats, they are easily manipulated. Ntini was a truly great player and his time has no come to hang up his boots. Use Ntini at one of these acadimies where he is well liked and to bring through next crop of top bowlers.

  • Ginger - 2010-01-11 14:00

    These people are just making speeches because their actions have not produced a single successor to Ntini after all these years. What has happened to the huge amounts of money that was allocated for development? Somebody is not doing his job and has resorted to the politian’s trick of “lying with statistics”

  • ronald - 2010-01-11 14:13

    This man was great when he was on form, but with all the newspaper reports the last week, it seems his manager wants to promote him to get back in the team!! Get his form right and leave advertising to Nando's!

  • Mzwandile - 2010-01-11 14:32

    I am encouraged by the news that "cricket participation has shown solid growth of 3.9% over the past year among juniors aged 13-18. This is the school-going age-group, which suggests to me that we (as administrators and government officials - both from the Department of Education as well as the Department of Sport and Recreation) must come up with a proactive strategy for the development and the envisaged mass participation of young people (both boys and girls) in cricket. Maybe we could consider starting an official junior league or well structured schools league, preferably better than the Wednesday / Friday league we used to have as school kids. Soccer in this country is not developing at the rate envisaged by the national coaching staff, because we do not have such a well-structured junior league. I was rather discouraged by the comments made recently by the national coach of the under-19 national team. Out of the blue, our under-19 team appears to be a team of mediocres, which means that the team will just be having a jolly ride to the under-19 tournament in New Zealand. There's only one player he mentioned from the Eastern Cape who apears to be above the shoulders of everyone else. My considered opinion is that the coach's comments were rather careless and unnecessary. You can't build children's morale with such negative comments. The current under-19 team has the largest coaching staff ever. Should we begin to question the coaching staff's lack of seriousness and commitment to prepare these young lads for the under-19 New Zealand tournament or not? The team to represent us in New Zealand was supposed to consist of the best players we had at the under-19 tournament last December. The best young South Africans in December 2009 have suddenly turned into young worthless people at this time? This does not jell well with me.

  • Charlie - 2010-01-11 19:34

    I agree that Ntini was good and can assure you he deserves his popularity. We watch the game between the Titans and the Dolphins this weekend. We called him to take a pic. He was fielding, ran closer, went out of his way to pose for a pic between overs. What a gentleman!!!!. But his bowling is not at National level anymore. Use Ntini to coach and help develop the youth

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