For eight years, Hilton Moreeng has dedicated his life to uplifting women’s cricket in South Africa and was recently rewarded for his outstanding contributions to the national team with a three-year deal from Cricket South Africa.

Over the years, the 42-year-old who hails from Kimberley, has earned his stripes at the highest level and under his leadership, we have witnessed the Momentum Proteas team evolve into a competitive unit on the global stage.

He successfully guided the Proteas to the semi-finals of both the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup (2014 and 2020) and the ICC Women’s World Cup in 2017.

This year, following a historic 3-0 One-Day International whitewash over New Zealand, his side landed a third-place finish with 25 points behind Australia (39) and England (27) in the ICC Women’s Championship and gained automatic qualification for next year’s World Cup.

With the showpiece looming, CSA have retained his services with the aim of keeping the momentum going in the team as they challenge for the title.

As a champion of women’s sport, there are several factors which he is hoping to see change in the future. Celine Abrahams finds out!

Coach Hilton, congratulations on your re-appointment as the Momentum Proteas Head Coach.

Thank you very much. It is exciting for me to receive the backing from management to continue with this talented group of players and I look forward to reaching greater heights with the team.

What has been the most rewarding part of your job?

“Being part of growing the profile of women’s cricket in the country and to be a witness to so many of the individual milestones reached by so many players and the team.” – Momentum Proteas Head Coach, Hilton Moreeng, speaks on the most rewarding part of leading the national women’s team.

Being part of growing the profile of women’s cricket in the country and to be a witness to so many of the individual milestones reached by so many players and the team. Us reaching the World Cup semi-finals in both formats has been exceptionally rewarding to me as a coach. This is a true testament that hard work does pay off.

Working in women’s sport is certainly a different kettle of fish. Take us through the difficulties?

There are many challenges faced with budgets and resources as this is a growing profile. We are fortunate, though, to have the partnership between Momentum and CSA that has afforded us growth in this regard.

Why do you think it is important for women to enjoy the same support as their male counterparts?

Ultimately, cricket, like any other sport, is an exhibition of skill and talent and spectatorship speaks to the appreciation thereof, regardless of the gender of the person(s) playing the sport.

With that being said, it is not a secret that viewership in cricket, particularly in the men’s game, is predominantly male, with the number of women watching the sport on the rise. Therefore, it is particularly important that the women’s game receives as much support – male or female – as this will not only lead to a much-needed wider interest in the women’s game in South Africa.

Initially, why did you get involved in women’s sport?

The opportunity came up and I grabbed it as I feel that I can make a difference and contribute to a sport which I love.

What are some of the developments you yearn to see in the women’s game?

Improvement of females’ structures in the country. It would be my vision to see the game being played professionally at provincial level which would be a catalyst for a healthy pipeline.

Are we making any progress in the advancement of the game from grassroots?

“We do understand that there is still much to do in improving the domestic structures as well as the inclusion of girls of all ages playing in school leagues.” – Moreeng points out the factors that need to be worked on to improve cricket at grassroots level.

We are moving in the right direction. We do understand that there is still much to do in improving the domestic structures as well as the inclusion of girls of all ages playing in school leagues.

You won the Coach of the Year Award at the 2014 SPAR gsport Awards. How did it feel being recognised by the initiative?

Firstly, it was an honour being nominated and then to go on to win the award amongst so many of the best coaches in women’s sport in the country was a surreal feeling.

Through winning this award, I felt part of the gsport family which showcases talented female athletes and coaches in South Africa who are contributing towards raising the profile of women’s sport.

What are you planning to achieve with the Momentum Proteas team going forward?

The goal is to continue to win more silverware and have a sustainable and competitive team going forward.

It is my belief that the Momentum Proteas are one of the best outfits in the world and I will do my best to contribute towards the team’s success.

 

 

Photo 1 Caption: For eight years, Hilton Moreeng has dedicated his life to uplifting women’s cricket in South Africa and was recently rewarded for his outstanding contributions to the national team with a three-year deal from Cricket South Africa. Photo: CSA

Photo 2 Caption: Over the years, the 42-year-old who hails from Kimberley, has earned his stripes at the highest level and under his leadership, we have witnessed the Momentum Proteas team evolve into a competitive unit on the global stage. Photo: gsport

Photo 3 Caption: He successfully guided the Proteas to the semi-finals of both the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup (2014 and 2020) and the ICC Women’s World Cup in 2017. Photo: gsport

Photo 4 Caption: This year, following a historic 3-0 One-Day International whitewash over New Zealand, his side landed a third-place finish with 25 points behind Australia (39) and England (27) in the ICC Women’s Championship and gained automatic qualification for next year’s World Cup. Photo: gsport