Pursuing your sporting dream as a cricketer has its ups and downs, but one thing is certain, at some point the journey will end. All the more reason to be prepared for it or, like the 26 year old, SWD captain Waldo Lategan, be in a position to choose the right moment.
“Usually, you look at cricket as a career until you’re 30 before you have to start thinking about life after it. As a result, you put lots of pressure on yourself because you feel you have to perform every season to have your contract renewed. So, because I felt that pressure, I thought, let me get something behind my name and see if some of that pressure goes away by knowing that I have something to fall back on.”
Contemplating studying, again, was a hurdle in itself. In 2008, fresh out of Oudtshoorn High School where he became SWD’s first ever SA Schools player, Lategan moved to Bloemfontein to study Human Movement Science at University of the Free State and play for the province. By mid-2011, he returned to SWD on a semi-professional playing contract, but without a degree.
“I signed the SWD contract in April 2011, then I spent the off-season playing club cricket in England [for Marehay CC in Derbyshire] and while there, started studying through Unisa in July 2011. Four years later, having successfully attained his Bachelor of Education (Intermediary) degree, he’ll be doing just that come January 2016.
“I’m getting married in March 2016, and my fiancé [Steph-Mari Harmse] has a very good job at Netcare Cuyler Hospital in Uitenhage. As soon as I finished my exams earlier this year I sent my CV off to schools there and got offers back from three primary schools. After weighing them up, primarily based on how strong their sport was, I accepted an offer from Handhaaf Primary School. I will be teaching Grade 6 and 7 maths.”
As a bonus for Lategan, he still has some cricket to play…
“Initially, I asked the three schools if they would allow me to start in April, after the season ends, but they weren’t willing to – they want teachers for a full year. Also, I can’t take the chance of only looking for jobs then, but in negotiating with Handhaaf and SWD it looks like I’ll still be able to play the limited-overs matches on Sundays. This will allow me to see out my contract and start my teaching post simultaneously. We’ve been doing well in the provincial one-day tournament and I want to continue making a contribution to that effort. I also feel a responsibility to SWD because for four years they’ve given me a contract and allowed me to take time off when I needed to write exams – I owe them my gratitude too.”
In his response, SWD Cricket Chief Executive Officer, Albertus Kennedy, confirmed that Lategan will be released from his contract at the end of December. Waldo, who also captained the team this season, has been a great servant and ambassador for SWD Cricket and we are delighted that he will still be available for our Limited overs campaign in the second half of the season. “We are in the run for a place in the final and we have reached an agreement to maintain his services for those matches”, he said.
“Besides the limited availability of Lategan, we will also be without Luthando Mnyanda who will join the Knights on a loan system for the Sunfoil Series competition”. According to Kennedy they are in process to finalise a contract with Sithembiso Ndwandwa from Eastern Province as a replacement”. According to Kennedy a successor as captain has been identified and an announcement will soon be made in this regard.