Tuhafeni taking cricket to greater heights

By Michael Uugwanga

WHEN it comes to junior cricket in the Kunene region, for years it has felt like cricket in that area has been moving in the wrong direction, but now the tide is turning.

Initiatives like the First National Bank (FNB) Kwata Cricket programme in conjunction with Cricket Namibia in all regions -through development officers- has helped re-address the growth of the sport.

And one figure central to the revival of cricket in his beloved region of Kunene is Cricket Namibia’s development officer Wilhelm Tuhafeni, whose job responsibilities include increasing participation, and providing children with an opportunity to regularly participate in a fun and yet safe environment.

This week, Confidente sat down with Tuhafeni in his hometown of Outjo to talk about his journey into cricket, the passion for the sport and what the future holds for cricket in the country.

“My cricket journey started way back in 2001, when I used to play backyard cricket on a farm with the Groenewald brothers (Willem and Pieters) mostly during school holidays. After seeing the fun side of the sport I started developing passion for the sport after that we formed a group with other kids on the farm and started playing cricket more often. “The Groenewald brothers at the time were already playing for Namibia at different age-groups, so they were making use of us to practice their batting and bowling mostly when preparing for events such as trials and matches.

“I played for Outjo Secondary School between 2011 and 2013 when I was still a learner there and I was an all-rounder. It was unfortunate that I could not continue to play competitive cricket due to a knee problem which started way back in 2008.”

Tuhafeni was born in Otjiwarongo but spent most of his life in Outjo and is today a proud cricket development officer, not only for Kunene but across the country as well.

The programme which has received full backing from Cricket Namibia is a step in the right direction.

“When I started the cricket programme in 2011, we went to tour Windhoek and I was captain of the team and it was great exposure for all of us, and that is when I decided to become a coach in order to develop cricket in my community. I started coaching towards the end of 2011 at Outjo Secondary School.

“In 2012 I developed the girls’ programme for grade 8 to 11. In 2014 that is when I got employed by Cricket Namibia as a cricket development officer to help develop and grow the sport in our region, something that I have been committed to for the past six years,” said Tuhafeni.

Tuhafeni has assured Namibian cricket lovers that the future remains bright saying that the region is blessed with lots of talented young male and female cricketers.

“There are lots of talented young boys and girls out there, but all they need is coaching assistance and consistent mentorship. I remember my former classmates announcing upcoming sporting events and leaving cricket out, and some of my friends were even making fun of me over cricket, but this made me stronger in my endeavour to continue playing cricket.

“My greatest ambition still remains the same, that is to provide every child the opportunity to play cricket and make a difference in their lives”.