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Daren Ganga Foundation to recognise Mandela

By JONATHAN RAMNANANSINGH Thursday, July 11 2013

IN commemoration of Nelson Mandela’s significance and input into the life and career of former national captain Daren Ganga, the cricketer’s non-profit organisation ‘ the “Daren Ganga Foundation” will officially recognise “Mandela Day” (July 18) with a cricket coaching clinic for children. It will also hold a celebrity Twenty20 cricket match in Tobago on the same day.

With South African President, Jacob Zuma on Tuesday asking the global population to mark the anti-apartheid icon’s 95th birthday on July 18 with the biggest Mandela Day celebrations ever, the Daren Ganga Foundation will heed to the call in memory of Mandela’s achievements.

Ganga made his Test debut for the regional side against South Africa in December 1998 and on his 20th birthday on January 14 the following year, he received a phone call from then South African President, Mandela.

On the phone, the ex-Naparima College player revealed that Mandela reiterated the tour (1998) was especially important for the people of South Africa as they have followed the exploits of our team and drew great inspiration and hope from it.

Mandela offered words of encouragement to Ganga in terms of his career, and said that he (Ganga) was a role model to young people everywhere. The national cricketer openly admitted that this specific phone call “changed his life.”

At a press conference held in Johannesburg last year, Ganga said, “President Mandela congratulated me as the youngest member of the West Indies team on tour and went on to say how very happy he was to see our team, and welcomed us to his country.”

As young South Africans were inspired by Ganga last year, when he shared his own experience and interaction with Nelson Mandela and, also, presented a treasured Test Cricket cap as a token of his appreciation to the ailing South African icon.

Ganga and the DGF have reiterated their love and admiration for the living legend with a planned event which has already received the full blessings of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory at The Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg. The Ganga Foundation is also being saluted for their work to recognise the Mandela Day.

Since the phone call from Mandela, the ex-TT cricket captain has sought to assist young people on and off the cricket field through his organisation. It will mentor young people as well as motivate and inspire them to realise their full potential. The foundation back up their development of young cricketers by providing scholarships, financial; assistance and coaching workshops.

On this year’s inaugural hosting, Ganga said “Nelson Mandela’s words of wisdom to me remain as one of the cornerstones of my being grounded in life and always striving to treat each other with respect, kindness and love; this, as President Mandela demonstrates during his lifetime. I feel that it is only fitting that I pay tribute to the great man by joining the world in meaningfully taking Action; Inspiring Change; and Making Every Day a Mandela Day.”

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