By a quick calculation, former Northerns cricketer Anton Ferreira has contributed more than 40 years of service to cricket in the province and in South Africa, so it was entirely fitting that the Northerns Cricket Union (NCU) should pay tribute to him when NCU launched its new refurbished President’s Suite at SuperSport Park Centurion on Thursday night.
Ferreira, a quality all-rounder who would go on to represent South Africa in unofficial limited-overs matches in the 1980s, was born in Pretoria and made his debut for Northern Transvaal in 1974. When he retired in 1992, he held the record for most appearances for the province (93 first-class games) and the most runs scored for Northern Transvaal (4290 in first-class cricket).
Ferreira was one of the key figures in the rise of Northern Transvaal from the B Section to A Section contenders in the early 1980s, also taking 235 wickets at an average of 26.91 with his muscular pace bowling.
After his playing days, which included an eight-year stint with Warwickshire, where he was immensely popular, Ferreira went into coaching and just kept on contributing. He initially made his mark at junior and first-class level (with Transvaal) and then took the South African U19 team to two junior world cups. In 2000, he was appointed Cricket South Africa’s director of coaching, which involved a shift into coaching the coaches.
This month, with his job description having evolved into coaching education manager, Ferreira finally retired from CSA, although he is still involved in cricket on a consultancy basis, currently helping the Africa Cricket Association.
“Yogi has done it all in cricket, he has made an incredible contribution to the game, and was one of the people who laid the foundation for our current success as a franchise. What he has done for cricket in this area and around the country during his 18 years with Cricket South Africa has been phenomenal and his passion for the game is what sets him apart. And it was all done without any tendency for self-promotion, you won’t find a more humble, down-to-earth man,” said Titans Cricket CEO Jacques Faul, in paying tribute to Ferreira.
A typically modest Ferreira said he can never repay the game for all it has given him.
“I am humbled and I can never repay the game for all the wonderful enjoyment it has given me. I learnt, as a young boy, about the game from Northern Transvaal legends like Denis Lindsay, Jackie Botten and Tiger Lance and they taught me about enjoying the pleasure of risk,” Ferreira said.
Ferreira will certainly be missed by Cricket South Africa, but someone with his passion for the game is certainly still going to be around, bringing a smile and wonderful insight to cricket.
Awards will be held on Saturday, 2 June, and will be broadcast live on SuperSport.