Trio of star cricketers head into desert in Battle of the Sports

Trio of star cricketers head into desert in Battle of the Sports

Batsman Lance Klusener and former Protea fast-bowlers Makhaya Ntini and Monde Zondeki, the last team to compete in the BrightRock Battle of the Sports, set off into the Northern Cape desert on Friday, a day after receiving a heroes' welcome in the small town of Kenhardt.

The endurance challenge and Covid-19 fundraiser has already tested the mettle of Team Rugby, Team Running and Team Soccer — and now the pressure is on the cricket legends. 

Under the guidance of expedition leader Erik Vermeulen (who already has 600km under his belt), the cricketers will compete for 96 hours to see which sporting code can finish the 200km route around Verneukpan in the fastest time. 

Zondeki said he was both excited and nervous to be competing, as he was not sure what to expect. Klusener said he was happy to jump on the team's supply cart if necessary, while Ntini stressed they were there not necessarily there to win the challenge, but rather just to do it.

“It is for such a good cause, and we appeal to all South Africans to put their hands up and donate, even if it is just a small amount, to help our very vulnerable communities that are really struggling,” Ntini said.

For a good cause

Peter McKuchane, GM of the Northern Cape Tourism Authority, said on Friday that the Battle of the Sports was “not just about showcasing the beauty that the Northern Cape has to offer, but also about supporting vulnerable communities, and the underprivileged most hard hit by Covid-19. We are so proud to be associated with the organisers and hope that this will become an annual event.”

Earlier in the week, Jonathan Oppenheimer, CEO of air-travel sponsor Fireblade Aviation, said: “Sport is such a unifier, and a challenge like this, which brings all the different sporting codes together for a good cause, is such a positive thing.”

Events to Aid, the organiser of the BrightRock Battle of the Sports, will use all funds raised to help vulnerable communities hit hard hit by Covid-19.  

The finishing times of the teams competing in the challenge will not be revealed until all the teams have competed. All the results will be announced on October 16.

How do you get involved?

  • Visit the Battle of the Sports websiteto support your favourite sports team doing the Verneukpan 200km challenge by donating to this worthy cause.
  • Use the hashtags#battleofthesportschallenge #lovechangewhen posting on the challenge'sFacebookorTwitterpage, or viaInstagram.
  • Then challenge as many of your friends as possible, or any schools, clubs and companies, to support this cause by tagging them in your social media posts.