President's Voice – Gideon Sam | SASCOC - SASCOC

President’s Voice – Gideon Sam

Welcome to 2015 and what should hopefully be another great sporting year for South Africa.
I can start off by saying that cricket is alive and well in the rural areas of the Eastern Cape. Certainly that’s if the tournament that has been going on for 25 years in the Fort Beaufort area is anything to go by.
In a festival atmosphere, the two clubs from the Victoria East region (as it was called previously), tackled each other. The crowd really got in on the action and the players had their tails up.
Thanks to the vision of one man who is doing well in business and ploughing back into his community, Ndlovu (his clan name) is a man who is passionate about rural development through sport.
He is always challenging us to join him in his crusade to develop rural areas through sport. In fact, it is more than just this one community because more communities in Idutywa and Debenek benefit from this kind-hearted man.
And then add to all his efforts the hard work of community leaders like Ross Purdon who is closely involved with the Pineapple Tournament. This tournament is 111 years old and has continued to promote cricket in the rural areas.
Then we have the annual Amacala eGusha tournament near King William’s Town where the likes of Makhaya Ntini cut their cricket teeth. I made a bold statement in the presence of Chris Nenzani, Cricket South Africa boss and the CFO to consider seriously taking all these tournaments under their wing.
An exciting suggestion was made by Ross that the best out of these tournaments should meet in another clash to give the cricketers more exposure to the game. It is a suggestion worth following up because the Eastern Cape has cricket talent galore.
Moving on and we look forward to a year that is going to be full of sporting excitement.
Bafana Bafana are in the heart of Africa, ready to do battle for the AFCON crown. Coach Shakes Mashaba pays little attention to this ‘group of death’ talk and is ready to take on any team on the continent. Such confidence must rub off on the players.
Good luck to Shakes and the team. Then it is the turn of cricket, rugby and netball to seek the glory to be crowned champions.
Later in the year we also have to make our way to Congo Brazzaville for the African Union Games, previously known as the All Africa Games.
Our juniors will also do battle in Samoa at the Commonwealth Youth Games. This is already a really full plate of sporting action and we have not even talked about the preparation for the the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
So far this year I’ve seen our Raven Klaasen reach the doubles final of the Chennai Open tennis tournament in India and then I also hear that the Robinson siblings, Michaela and Ryan, have sailed off with the Mirror World Championships honours here on home turf, at Villiersdorp in the Boland.