President's Voice ÔÇô Gideon Sam | SASCOC - SASCOC

President’s Voice ÔÇô Gideon Sam

The road shows to the provinces are proving to be a most worthwhile exercise for us here at SASCOC.

The Provincial sports confederations are taking shape and the federations in the provinces are slowly but surely pulling in the same direction as SASCOC. We still have national federations without a footprint in some of the provinces and we need to ask questions around this because we need to spread sport far and wide in the country.

Another challenge is the scarcity of seasoned administrators. It could be that all the infighting characterising our sport these days scares off people with capabilities to come forward and help administer sport. There remains thus a huge task for us to up the pace of training people so that they can take up sport administration in a serious way.

The encouraging aspect of these road shows is the willingness of the MEC’s to participate in them.┬áIt is so helpful to understanding what the province wants and how they propose to roll out their programmes to take sport to all the people in the province.┬áThe federations get the message loud and clear and can adjust their programmes accordingly.

Take the issue of priority sport in the different provinces. If your sport is not on the list of the province, how should you adapt to ensure that your sport is still being practised in that particular province? We are now beginning to grapple with finding answers to this question instead of just moaning that there is no money for the sport. Through the road shows we also get a sense of the funding models of the different provinces, making it easier to plan over a multi-year period for any sport.

There should be a clearer picture across the board at the end of all the road shows that will enable us to return to the drawing board and plan better.

We marked 500 days to the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, with a fantastic display of gymnastics in Mafikeng, Northwest Province. On a bright and fresh Sunday morning the gymnasts from Klerksdorp and Mafikeng showed off what they could do.

A small appreciative crowd encouraged them as they went through their paces. Some of them of course harbour dreams of one day representing their country at the Commonwealth Games. The day to highlight 500 days to the opening ceremony was marked with various functions throughout the Commonwealth territories. Our thanks to the leadership of gymnastics for leading our contribution to a day being marked as very important by the Commonwealth Games Federation.

The Sascoc Board will be going into a bosberaad next week to look at how we are doing with plans set out to grow sport in the country. Over a period of two days we will sit and look at what we have achieved so far and how we can improve going forward. We will deal, amongst other things, with the issue of bidding and hosting.

Are we as a country ready to host either the Commonwealth Games or the Olympics? How should we position ourselves when it comes to bidding and hosting of major sporting events? There are people who feel we are not ready to host big events so soon after the Fifa World Cup. But when will we be ready? We hope to give guidance on these matters and others after our bosberaad.

Top of our priority list remains the thorough preparation of our athletes for major events. Operation Excellence must be supported so that the athletes and coaches can have the benefit of a support system that will make them perform better.

To that extent, we are happy with the imminent opening of the National Training Centre in Bloemfontein. It will give our teams an opportunity to train and prepare in an environment that has the infrastructure necessary for them to do so. We hope to extend these camps to overseas where opportunities will be created to train and compete. SASCOC will be making announcements around these issues soon.

Meanwhile on the sporting front it’s good to see that our top-ranked tennis ace Kevin Anderson beat world No4 David Ferrer in the United States. Our London Olympic triathlete Richard Murray was second in a US event as well and our Banyana Banyana soccer team have given a good account of themselves in the Cyprus Cup. We still have some way to go but they are certainly nobody’s whipping boys. Well done for beating Northern Ireland in their last group match.

Closer to home and it was good to see new SANABO President Andile Mofu rolling out his plans for 2013. As many of you are aware, I’m a big boxing fan and we need to see our fighters making an impact on the biggest stage.