The influence of Khaka's grandparents in her rise in Cricket

The influence of Khaka's grandparents in her rise in Cricket

As Proteas Women seamer Ayabonga Khaka became the first black woman to reach 100 caps at the international level in the country, her father Khaya Mama has shared the people who inspired her to this level.

Speaking during the third and final ODI match between Proteas Women and Sri Lanka in Potchefstroom on Wednesday night, Mama who was at the venue to watch his daughter making history in South African and international sport, says Khaka’s grandfather and uncles were instrumental in her taking up the sport.

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''So the grandfather passed that love of cricket to the uncles and the uncles passed it over to Ayabonga, who today really achieved what her forefathers could not achieve,'' said Mama.

Khaka, who hails from Ngwenya Village in Middledrift, near Alice in the Eastern Cape has been playing cricket with boys since the age of seven. Her father also touched on the key role of her grandmother in helping her to take the sport of cricket seriously.

''Her grandma never played cricket, but she loved the sport and could encourage her to take the sport seriously,'' added Mama.

After featuring for the Border U19 women’s cricket team, Khaka played for the SA U19 team before making her senior debut in 2012. Mama says this is a great milestone for them as a family.

The distance between Middledrift (Ayabonga’s hometown) and Mdingi, where South Africa’s legendary cricketer Makhanya Ntini comes from is just less than 40 km.

Ntini was also the first black men’s cricketer to reach 100 caps and Mama says he remains Khaka’s role model.

''This is a great milestone as a family. I can tell you Ayabonga never started cricket to be the first black woman to achieve this milestone, she started playing cricket just like any other kid, fortunately she was born at the right time and at the right place,'' he concluded.

With Khaka coming from the Border region, an area that is known for producing top black cricket talent, Mama is hoping that her milestone will inspire more young girls to take up the sport in the province.