Chikwanah’s Desire to Lead Women Cricketers to Stardom

Old Edwardians captain of the club’s first women’s team, Florence Chikwanah, plans to use her leadership skills to guide young cricketers to stardom.

Chikwanah and her fellow teammates are part of history being the first women’s team to feature for the Old Edwardians club during their 100th season of club cricket.

Starting out as the club’s scorer, Chikwanah worked her way to joining the coaching staff in the junior ranks last season.

She believes that she can make a significant difference in the lives of the players that she has the privilege of engaging with on a daily.

Her outspoken character has played a key role in helping her achieve her dreams in being in the sporting space.

Chikwanah hopes to one day advance and use her experience in the national women’s team setup.

Speaking with Celine Abrahams, Chikwanah chats about her passion for sport and the state of women’s cricket in the country.

Florence, congratulations on being the first captain of the newly formed Old Edwardians women’s team! How does it feel to have been given this opportunity?

I am honoured to be leading the first women’s team at Old Edwardians Cricket Club. The club itself is known to have produced some of the best players in the country and we have had major success with our men’s first team winning the Premier League and reaching T20 finals twice in a row.

How did the decision come about to form a women’s side for the cricket club’s 100th season?

It has been a long time coming. We have tried in the past to get a team running but we just couldn’t get the numbers in terms of having enough women cricketers to form a team. That changed this year.

Where does your passion for cricket come from?

First time I saw cricket on television I fell in love with it! I remember I used to play with my cousin in the backyard almost every day during holidays.

“I have always been a sport lover, from football to basketball, wherever there’s a ball I felt whole.” – Old Edwardians women’s team captain, Florence Chikwanah

A couple years later when I saw young girls in the paper playing cricket, I was inspired to find a team. I have always been a sport lover, from football to basketball, wherever there’s a ball I felt whole.

You have been part of the club’s structures for a while now. Please tell us about how your journey began at Old Edwardians.

I started as a GCB and then CGL scorer in 2016. I’m one of those people that are really loud on and off of the field, observing and always commenting, so when one of the players asked if I will be keen on coaching at the club I had no second thoughts.

We have seen an incredible growth in the level of women’s cricket in the country. However, what improvements do you think still need to be made?

In Gauteng they are in forcing a rule that every men’s cricket club should have a women’s side. This rule should also be applied to all clubs and schools in the country.

I believe in a couple of years from now our women’s teams will be just as strong if we continue to invest in development.

Talking about development, as a coach in the junior structure, what are some of the challenges young cricketers face trying to move from local club structures into provincial and national team setups?

I have been involved with junior club and school cricket for a while now. I’d say it’s quite challenging to make provincial as most of the young players do not get enough time, practice and guidance or can afford private lessons, yet are so talented. In the townships, there are hub centres where these players can advance their skills after school but they need to be looked after.

“There is also not a lot of focus on local clubs, meaning that talented cricketers are lost along the way because they do not have a platform to showcase their talents.” – Chikwanah speaks on the challenges young cricketers experience.

There is also not a lot of focus on local clubs, meaning that talented cricketers are lost along the way because they do not have a platform to showcase their talents. This needs to change in order to create a pipeline to the national team structures.

What difference are you hoping to make in the lives of female cricketers through your leadership?

I hope to create an environment and a culture that does not discriminate anyone despite our different backgrounds.

Cricket taught me patience, acceptance and discipline, I tend to apply all these and more to our current squad and generations to come.

Where would you like to see yourself in the next five years?

I’d be really proud if in 5 years from now I’m involved in coaching a women’s academy provincially and even our national women’s side.

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