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Nurturing sport loving kids motivates coach Xaka

Gift Xaka is the building block for the kids and sports in his neighbourhood.
Gift Xaka is the building block for the kids and sports in his neighbourhood.
Image: Supplied

Working with children on the sporting field has always been inspirational for Gift Xaka.

The 35-year-old from Duduza in Ekurhuleni, is the head of sports department and administrator for schools cricket in the region and for junior girls nationally.

"The schools' cricket job is not for the faint-hearted, there are more challenges and problems than solutions. However, I love being challenged and I get to learn from every experience," Xaka said.

" I must say that I have made progress in putting positive structures in place with the help of my team."

He said cricket was a very expensive sport and to introduce it in township schools without government's intervention will be difficult.

Xaka has made a contribution to the careers of two youngsters - Mangaliso Mosehle and Tumi Sekhukhune.

Mosehle made his T20 debut for the Proteas last year, while Sekhukhune was recently called up to the women's Proteas and is now in the Cricket World Cup squad.

"Government needs to invest in building the infrastructure and sourcing out equipment to schools so that the game can filter easily to clubs and regional performance centres," Xaka said.

One of his highlights in the coaching business was to be selected to coach the SA u-19 girls which took him away from his comfort zone.

"It stretched me and it was nerve-wrecking at first, but once I got the hang of things, I realised that this is such a great opportunity and an honour for me to be part of such a set-up," Xaka said.

"I hope my involvement in it has inspired a child, father, mother or sister somewhere out there to realise that nothing is impossible in life.

"One thing I like about my job is that I grow as a person and got to sharpen my skills in terms of being an organiser, a problem solver and a decision-maker."

Xaka said he enjoyed meeting and interacting with people who were making a difference through sport.

"Above all else, one gets to see youngsters in the programme grow and progress right in front of your eyes and nothing can ever replace that," he said.

Xaka described himself as a humble and God-fearing person.

"I do not give up on my dreams and I don't get anyone to tell me that I cannot do it, because I know what I am capable of doing and achieving. I am a person who works hard and I enjoy pushing myself beyond my comfort zone."

Xaka said what motivated him to wake up in the morning is knowing that he is off to nurture someone's future and make a difference in a child's life and prepare them for the real world.

"The positive influence that I can have and be in shaping their lives does not compare to anything in this world."

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