By SYDNEY MORWENG
IT was hugs and kisses as relatives, friends and sports personalities, government officials, press and well-wishers came in their large numbers to bid farewell the Protea’s as they embark on their journey for the ICC Cricket World Cup in India, Sri-Lanka.
Playing host was the ever popular The Venue at Melrose Arch, and what a do it turned out to be.
Leading the pack was Minister of Sports Fikile Mbalula who said the Protea team was a marvel to watch and support, despite the boardroom politics.
“Ours tonight is to give appropriate farewell to the team, management and sponsors for being behind this wonderful bunch of hardworking players,” he said.
“For the South Africans, our task at hand will be to rally behind the team by declaring our commitment by wearing the Proteas-attire every Friday. This will add impetus to the boys that they will make it.”
He went on to point out that the team also received message of luck and perseverance from Madiba, who despite his ill-health gave a broad smile when told the team, wished him a speedy recovery.
‘Mbucks’ as Fikile is popularly known within the political circle, also promised South Africans that ,should the team advance to the semi-finals of the tourney, these going to be a razzmatazz never seen in the world.
“We gonna have a ball both in the country and in India. As for India, they’ll never know what hit them when we invade their territory.”
We will show them how to enjoy Halaal, he said jokingly.
Peter de Villiers, head-coach at Springbok said their involvement as the team is to rally behind the Proteas, and wish them luck in their quest.
Its’ not gonna be easy in the foreign country, as was the case with India during the ODI’s but with right frame of mind and the can-attitude our fellow mates will bank it, ” he said.
Now that Madiba has spoken theirs is to make it happen.
Another bonus to the team was the surprise revelation that Adidas is the technical sponsor for all the national cricket teams, and the unveiling of the new one day kit which the team will wear during the WC.
The deal is for three-years.
For the first time in the South African cricket history Adidas have also made form-fitting kit for the women’s team. It incorporates the same technological benefits as the men’s kit but is specifically designed for a woman’s body shape to ensure freedom of movement and ultimate performance.
“Adidas has a long tradition of working with top sports teams on a global level and we’re delighted to be able to partner the South African Cricket team with the latest technological product.
Cricket is a true performance sport and therefore, deserves product that mirrors this, “says Gavin Cowley Marketing Director at Adidas.
Thrilled Gerald Majola, CE at CSA –who had to put aside ongoing boardroom saga- said Adidas is a leader in technology and innovation and their input will be hugely beneficial in supporting the South African Cricket teams.
We’re enthusiastic about the partnership and feel sure that our supporters will be delighted with the design of the new kits.”
Lonwabo Tsotsobe Proteas fast-bowler said he was happy with the team’s outlook and can’t wait to don the new kit during the WC.
Fashionably dressed, tall and slender Lonwabo agreed that:” The tournament itself will have no rooms for errors because you’re playing against the best in the world. Slightest mistake your back home,” he warned.
“We’ve upped the stakes since having played against India during the ODI, were mistakes were done but since then, we’ve improved psychologically and spiritually. As for the tournament we will go as far as semi-finals,” he promised South Africans.
The team jets off next Tuesday.