Kenzie Benali adding to her families sporting ties on the South Coast

The Hundred promises to be fun for all the family, but for Southern Brave host Kenzie Benali it is keeping her family sporting connection on the South Coast alive with a twist.

The daughter of Southampton FC legend Francis Benali has started to carve out a successful broadcasting and journalism career with work for Channel 4, Nickelodeon, Saints and Arsenal.

But she will be swapping in ground hosting duties at St. Mary’s Stadium for the Ageas Bowl as one of eight new in ground hosts.

And it is a ground she knows pretty well since her fiancé happens to be Hampshire wicket-keeper Lewis McManus, thus keeping the family sporting connections even stronger.

“I’ve always loved cricket,” said Benali. “It is a great, sociable sport and I used to go along to the Ageas Bowl and watch T20 matches with my family.

“My dad loves his cricket and he is my biggest cheerleader. They are so proud of me and dad has done some incredible things and I couldn’t be more proud of him.

“He has been rocking his southern brave cap on all his lockdown walks with my mum and spreading the love.

“Of course now, my other half actually plays professional cricket so I’m even more involved now and down at the ground as much as possible cheering the team on.

“It is great to be on the same time frame as him for once, because it is so hard when one of us is on the football beat and the other is playing cricket.

“He’s very excited for me and it is another bit of cricket for us to get into. We are fully immersed in it.”

With a first class degree in multi-media journalism Benali will be hoping to share more than just her love of cricket as she works alongside a young aspiring broadcaster hoping to get into the industry as part of the Hundred Rising initiative.

There are 32 paid positions as a Rising host, Rising reporter or Rising content creator that are open to the next generation of young talent hoping to follow in Benali’s footsteps.

She added: “I’m so excited because the Hundred rising is such an incredible opportunity for so many young and talented people across the country, and what a great way to make your initial step into this industry.

“When you’re trying to start out, it is so hard to find that person who is prepared to take that gamble on you.

“Often you put yourself out there and the answer comes back that you’ve not got enough experience, well the Hundred Rising is giving people the chance to show what they can do on this platform.”

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