Rising cricket star and Central Gauteng Lions (CGL) women’s wicketkeeper, Palesa Mapoo, is working towards cementing a lasting legacy in South African women’s cricket as she aims to play her best cricket this season with her provincial outfit.
The 21-year-old’s passion for the game was ignited when she was in grade 3 and has not looked back since.
The support that she has received from her coaches and her mother has played a pivotal role for her to continue in being the best that she can be.
Speaking to Babsie Kutwana, the Soweto born cricketer unpacks her career aspirations.
Hi Palesa, thank you for taking the time to speak to us. Please can you give us a brief introduction of yourself.
Hello and thank you for having me. I am Palesa Mapoo and I’m 21 years old. I grew up in Soweto. I am a professional cricket player, and currently full-time student at University of Johannesburg.
When did you first discover cricket and when did you realise that you wanted to make it a career?
I was in primary and I was doing grade 3, one of the coaches came to my school with the intention to start girls cricket team then I went for it. I played mini cricket and as time went on, I found myself playing for Provincial Team A, which went on tour to Namibia. From there I just took it that cricket is the sport I love and one day I want to represent my county. I wake up each day to work towards my dream.
When was your debut match and how did you feel before, during, and after?
I do not remember the specifics of the day but I was 13 years old. I felt all emotions at once. It was that excitement with a little bit of fear but after it felt calmer and had to control on my nerves it became that everyday feeling when I play most of my games.
“If you believe in yourself, nothing is impossible because I never knew that I’ll be here playing for the Central Gauteng Lions women’s team if I didn’t believe in myself.” – Central Gauteng Lions Senior Women’s Team cricketer, Palesa Mapoo
What lessons and experiences do you take from being part of the U19 squad to mould your senior career?
Well, nothing is impossible until you do that it. And that if you believe in yourself, nothing is impossible because I never knew that I’ll be here playing for the Central Gauteng Lions women’s team if I didn’t believe in myself.
What are you looking to achieve with the Central Gauteng Lions?
This season to be player of the season and overall batswoman/wicketkeeper of the season.
Who do you look to for support during tough times? How has their support contributed to your growth and confidence?
The first person would be my mother because she’s been there since day one, fetching me from school to give me my practice clothing and coming to my home games to support me and making the means to make sure that I was not short of anything when it was time to travel. Second would be my coaches and my partner who had to deal with my moodiness and attitude when I did not perform to my fullest, but they’ve always been there for me and I appreciate them being in my life.
What future aspirations do you have for your cricket journey?
This year I have a plan to make it through the academy squad, through the CSA Emerging Squad, from there I can see myself representing my country and wearing that green and gold badge for me and my mother.
Outside of cricket, what other interests do you have?
My interests will be traveling and seeing the world. I love adventures like going hiking, bungee jumping, and just being involved in sports activities
What would be your advice to young aspiring cricketers?
If you dream about being someone in life and you want to better your life, don’t stop, don’t give up and do it, and most important – believe in yourself.
Photo Caption: Rising cricket star and Central Gauteng Lions (CGL) women’s wicketkeeper, Palesa Mapoo is working towards cementing a lasting legacy in South African women’s cricket. Photo: Supplied