Zak Hafeji winner of August’s Game Changer of the Month award
Lancashire Cricket is delighted to announce that the winner of The Game Changer of the Month Award for August, is Zak Hafeji.
The monthly initiative aims to recognise and reward the outstanding contributions made by individuals working in cricket across Lancashire every month, with a Game Changer of the Year to be named at Lancashire Cricket’s annual End of Season Awards.
Zak volunteers for the Lancashire Cricket Foundation’s Wicketz programme and in the last three years has become pivotal to the development of cricket in the Old Trafford area.
His confidence and personality have grown tremendously over the last three years as he’s moved through college, who were impressed he was giving up his time voluntarily whilst completing an NVQ in Health and Social Care, and onto The University of Liverpool, where he’s studying to become a paramedic.
This increased confidence has led to him becoming a true champion of Wicketz in Old Trafford and a role model to others. Most new participants join because Zak has invited them along, and he’s worked hard outside of the sessions to develop strong bonds with some of the older participants.
Zak was presented with a cheque for £150, to purchase something which will assist with his ongoing voluntary work, by Lancashire’s opening batsman Keaton Jennings.
He also received a trophy to mark his achievement and a complimentary stay at Emirates Old Trafford’s on-site Hilton Garden Inn for a domestic matchday.
Upon receiving the Game Changer of the Month Award, Zak said: “I was speechless when I found out about the award. I think it is very important that people get involved with programmes such as this, especially in our community.
“It is good to get local people involved, get the kids doing something productive and enjoyable.
“I will ask the kids what they would like to spend the money on, as it is their sessions!”
The Game Changer recognition programme affirms Lancashire Cricket’s involvement and commitment to recreational and grassroots cricket in the North West, with Red Rose players awarding winners at their clubs.
Howard Shore, Wicketz Development Officer for the Lancashire Cricket Foundation also commented: “Zak’s confidence and competence has grown to such an extent that he often is the lead person at Wicketz sessions with his often-used statement of ‘Don’t worry Howard, I’ve got this’ demonstrating how far he has come.
“He is keen to pass on the knowledge he has gained through his university course and plans to run a Street Doctors-style First Aid when activities resume. Zak often talks to participants about education, which helps to raise their aspirations. Even though he is at university in another city, he is back as often as he can be and will continue to play a huge role in the success of our plans for Old Trafford.
“Zak has grown and developed so much in a relatively short period of time which is why I had no hesitation in nominating him for the Game Changer of the Month Award.”
Keaton Jennings added: “Zak’s hard work and volunteering efforts are pretty special.
“He deserves this recognition from Lancashire Cricket for the energy, time and care that Zak, along with many others, have given to young people to try and increase their participation in the game.
“People such as Zak are crucial to keeping our game alive and it is great to see that he does it all with a smile on his face.”