The legacy of Nelson Mandela at Flicx UK

Sporting figures across the world have united in praise of Nelson Mandela, who passed away yesterday aged 95. The world-renowned anti-apartheid activist and former president of South Africa had been in critical condition for the last few months. Mandela will be remembered for his belief in the importance and power of sport. He memorably declared: ‘Sport has the power to change the world, it has the power inspire, it has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.’

Francois Pienaar accepts the William Webb Ellis trophy from Nelson Mandela in 1995

Francois Pienaar accepts the William Webb Ellis trophy from Nelson Mandela in 1995

The team at Flicx UK were particularly saddened by the news of Mandela’s passing. In many ways, the companies formation was only possible as a result of the cultural shift brought about by the former South African president. Motivated by a desire to use sport to help break down the inequalities, that had existed in his homeland, Managing Director Richard Beghin sifted through a number of ideas before settling on cricket as the solution. “It was around 10 years ago, and Mandela’s new South Africa was just a few years old, so you felt you could help mould the future.” Cricket in South Africa had been seen as a white man’s sport, but Beghin believed that by offering a portable cricket pitch – a roll-down product that could be used on any flat surface – he would widen the accessibility to the game.

The first Flicx pitch was rolled out at Telkom Country Club in Pretoria – helping young cricketers who had been brought up in under-privileged townships to develop their game with the product subsequently having the same impact in many other countries around the world including most recently in the Cricket 4 Peace project in Palestine.

In 2001, Beghin had the idea to hold a cricket match on Robben Island (it’s very first) as a tribute to those that struggled against apartheid. The cricket match was organised by Flicx and saw a Western Provence XI including a number of high profile players take the field against a Robben Island invitational XI featuring several ex political prisoners and wardens, a great indication of the newly formed unity between them. As a legacy, the pitch was left at the primary school on the island.

The match on Robben Island

The match on Robben Island

Richard Beghin (middle) on the Flicx Pitch

Richard Beghin (middle) on the Flicx Pitch with Paul Adams, Charl Langeveldt and Nabeel Deem

The world-renowned leader had been in critical condition for the last few months and his death has been met by tributes from those inspired by one of history’s most iconic leaders. Commenting about Nelson Mandela’s influence on Flicx, founder Richard Beghin said ” Mandela has been a huge inspiration to many South African’s including myself. His philosophy and love of sport as a vehicle towards peace and change really paved the way for the Flicx Pitch to take cricket to “places it had never been played before” in a country that was desperate for new facilities that would allow all races to participate and enjoy the game together”. Inspired by Mandela’s lead, Beghin quit his sales role in an oil company wanting to play his small part in his countries reformation. As a result, through his new pitch, he aspired to see young kids seen for their sporting ability, enthusiasm and skills rather than the the colour of their skin or their social background.

Looking forward to 2014, Flicx will be launching their new 2G range. Now settled at their Brackley base, the business continues to expand with the Crazy Catch rebound nets now an important part of their product portfolio, which still works on the Mandela principle that through sport, we can achieve anything.

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Israel win Flicx match pitch through Cricket4Peace story

Heartwarming story generates huge interest

The International Cricket Council- Europe in partnership with Flicx UK today announced the Israel Cricket Association (ICA) as the winner of ‘How cricket has made a difference to your life?’ competition, for Shehadeh Salamin’s story of how Cricket4Peace changed his community and the lives of many in the troubled Palestinian region.

Shehadeh Salamin’s heartwarming story which really demonstrates the power of sport, generated huge interest and received over 2,500 page views,  please see his story as follows:

“My name Shehadeh Salamin 16, from al – Samoa. All my life, I dreamt of being a famous Palestinian footballer…until our village was introduced to cricket. The game rapidly became our flagship sport, with most kids preferring cricket over soccer!

Shesadeh Salamin on the right with his new friend from Israel

Shesadeh Salamin on the right with his new friend from Israel

I soon found that the more I played, the better I became. But to progress to the next level, we needed more cricketers. Someone proposed holding joint activities with Israeli kids. I must admit, I had concerns. However, when we reached Beersheba, the Israeli coach, George, greeted us with kindness. His warm words broke the barrier of fear in me. I thought to myself “I like to play cricket, just like Israeli children. So it would be fun to play together.”

We played in mixed teams with the Israelis and I enjoyed it! We had amazing collaboration. The head coach said to me in Arabic: “Bravo, you are a great player”. I felt very proud and our next practice couldn’t come too soon. Cricket has given me a new lease of life. Now I am a more confident person with a real desire to continue improving my game. And my dreams have changed too.

Today I dream of a cricket club in Palestine and of becoming the first Palestinian cricketer to play in an international league. I’m sure that with those Israeli and Palestinian children who participated with me, we can also realize the dream of peace together. When holding a cricket bat, I feel I hold the whole world.”

The Israel Cricket Association through the Cross Border cricket project is using cricket to facilitate interaction and communication to break down barriers between ethnic groups. Stage 1 of the project involves bringing together Jewish and Bedouin children in the Negev area, with Stage 2 to include Palestinian youth from the West Bank, a project currently being coordinated with the Peres Center for Peace – Cricket4Peace.

Cricket Ireland were run into a very close second place with Dundalk CC, Eddie Bosano-Andrews story and they will receive a Flicx Crazy Catch Wildchild and Freestyle. Crazy Catch is the “Ultimate Rebound Net” and comes as a new handheld model for the new season. The other finalists included Estonia, Spirit of Cricket by Sharath Geetha; Germany, Cricket Club Bonn by Raymond Cooray; Israel, Cricket4Peace by Sharon Gudker and Spain, Lanzarote Cricket Association by Peter Starmer.

Speaking about the interest in the competition Flicx UK’s Managing Director Richard Beghin commented. “The Flicx team were amazed by the quality of stories which were put forward and the enthusiasm with which all the finalists promoted their entries within their cricketing networks. It really shows the vital role that sport plays in changing people’s lives for the better, which is the very reason why the Flicx Pitch was developed in post apartheid South Africa to help break down racial barriers”.

For further information, please contact:

Nick Pink– ICC Regional Development Manager- Europe

Office: +44 (0)20 7616 8637 : Mobile: +44 (0)7788 307022 : Email: nick.pink@icc-europe.org

Kate Costin – Brand Development Manager, Flicx UK

Office: +44 (0)1295 816765 : Mobile: +44 (0)7513 025712 : Email: kate@flicx.com