#Assupol TuksCricket: Coach Lerato Malesa strives to make a difference

Posted on July 02, 2020

An absolute passion for making a difference in player’s lives is why Lerato Malesa started coaching Assupol Tuks women's cricket team.
The moment she starts talking about cricket, it becomes clear, there is nothing else she would want to do. Having grown up in Soshanguve, she is fully aware of the challenges that await young black players.
"One of the disadvantages I and probably most other black players face is that our parents are not able to come and watch when we play. I feel that with support from home, I might have achieved more as a cricketer. 
"Unfortunately it did not happen. But I now have the advantage of knowing what black players go through. That is why I consider supporting and encouraging young players as vital. No one should ever have to give up on their dreams.
"When I coach, it is not like I am working. It is more of a calling. That sense of achievement you get when a player masters a new technique is something money can't buy.
“Coaching is never only about winning. I want to make a difference in a player's life. If a player leaves a training session feeling they have learned something, I consider it to be a job well done."
Cricket has been her passion from when she was nine years old. Like many a youngster growing up in a black township, she started by playing mini-cricket. At first, her dad was not too keen on the idea. Especially when she started playing with the boys. He felt there were better things little girls could do. Malesa chose to defy her dad. 
"The more I played, the more I realised cricket is more than only a game. It teaches you about life. You got to work for what you want to achieve. There are never any shortcuts to success," the Assupol Tuks coached explained. 
She also fell in love with the unpredictability of the game. 
"You can have the perfect game plan, and still there are never any guarantees. The outcome of any game can change at any moment. Sometimes it takes only one over."
When playing, it did not take long for Malesa to be noticed. She ended up playing for the Northerns women's cricket team. To get the opportunity to play with and against the likes of Mignon du Preez, Marizanne Kapp, Dane van Niekerk and Marcia Letsoalo is something she will forever cherish. 
"As there were quite a few good players I batted quite low down the order. The challenge was to make the most of every opportunity. The one innings that stands out was when we played KZN. 
"I scored 49 runs. My teammates were surprised that I did not try and get to fifty.  It was a disappointment. I did not realise I was only one run away from what would have been a personal milestone. My only focus was on not losing my wicket. I did not take note of what was happening on the scoreboard. I suppose that is cricket." 
When not coaching or studying up as to how to improve players batting or bowling techniques, Masela loves to read. She tends to favour books on financial matters. Currently, she is reading "Rich Dad Poor Dad".
"I also love outdoor hiking, preferably somewhere in the mountains. Getting to experience the wonders of nature first-hand is a way to clear one's mind," the Assupol Tuks coached explained.
- Author Wilhelm de Swardt
Published by Leonore Jordaan

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