Sporty trio living and loving what they do

Squad goals... Run4Schools coaches, from left, Natalie Claasen, Franciska Nocanda and Kaylin Cedras

Working for a school sports development programme ticks off all the
right boxes for Run4Schools Foundation coaches, Kaylin Cedras, Franciska
Nocanda and Natalie Claasen.

They love working with children, check. They have a special skillset suited for the programme, check. They love sport, check.

The trio is among a number of coaches employed by the foundation and are stationed at four schools in Mitchell’s Plain – Alpine, Northwood and Tafelsig primary schools as well as Westridge High School.

Founded by Leslie Pangemanan from The Netherlands in 2004, at Alpine Primary, in Beacon Valley, Run4Schools aims to provide a much-needed sports programme.

Cedras, 23, has been with the programme for two years and is based at Alpine Primary.

She said her R4S journey started with a message from Western Province Athletics (WPA) official, Gavin Burgess, the former principal at Highlands Primary.

After matriculating from Westridge High School in 2015, she enrolled for a course in sports administration and worked for WPA, the City of Cape Town’s sports and recreation department and Making An Impact Through Sport (Mits), another Mitchell’s Plain sports NGO.

“We do various things – from running an in-school and after school sports programme to holiday programmes,” she said.

“But the main aim is to keep our kids off the streets,” she said.

Not forgetting the import and often neglegted role of women in sport, Cedras said she also partnered with the Starter Academy to established a digital platform in Women’s Month to showcase women in sport from across the city.

“So we’ve created this platform for women to share their stories and struggles in the sports industry.

“I think it’s one of the things we find very difficult, women that are unseen. So it’s about having them seen, just to see how they got where they are,” she said.

Teammate Nocanda, 24, from Tafelsig, has been with the Foundation for just over a year and is based at Northwood Primary.

A self-taught dancer, she runs an after-school dance class during weekdays, making it hard for the youngsters she works with to stop tapping their feet and moving to the beat.

“The thing I enjoy most is that I get a moment to share my passion with the young kids,” she said.

Nocanda wasted no time making use of the limited opporunity presented by the relaxed lockdown regulations to round up youngsters in her neighbourhood with her special fitness training.

“I know that it has been difficult for people to do what they love, to keep exercising, to stay fit and so on. But I get some kids that I do aerobics with so that I can still keep the energy there and give them a moment to forget about the whole virus and still stay positive and energetic.”

Staying with the positive vibes, her colleague, Claasen, 23, also from Tafelsig, says she can hardly wait to get back to what she loves most.

She is thankful for the latest lockdown regulations and the reoping of schools as it would allow her to get back on track with the youngsters.

Based at Tafelsig Primary, Claasen takes care of the school’s soccer squad.

Fluent in three languages, she can bark instructions from the sidelines in English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa.

“Ive been with Run4Schools for three and a half years. The nicest thing about working for Run4Schools is I’m doing what I love best: sports and working with children.”

To commemorate Women’s Month, feel free to share your stories of remarkable women in sport. Email or call Mzoxolo Budaza on 021 488 4620.