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Banyana Banyana’s Lebogang Ramalepe Keenly Awaits Playing In SNWL And Securing Pro Contract

28 Mar

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Lebogang Ramalepe is one of South Africa’s finest footballers. Born and raised in Limpopo, Lebogang Ramalepe led her football team Ma-Indies from Limpopo into SAFA’s women’s national league. Lebogang now keenly awaits the start of SA’s next edition of SNWL to show her football prowess. And of course, she’s awaiting that sought after pro contract. In this Q and A interview with ‘South African SportsWoman’ Publisher, Cheryl Roberts, we get to know about footballer Lebogang Ramalepe

Q: How did 2020 Open for you and football? What went down with you and football?
Lebogang Ramalepe: I can say the year 2020 hasn’t come been much productive for me football wise, because we are still waiting for the SNWL season to end and start the new season in order for my team to join and start playing in the national league.

Q: You captained Ma-Indies to win a national league berth. You must be excited about playing in the national league?
Lebogang Ramalepe: I’m overwhelmed. It’s like a prophesy coming to reality. I have always wanted to qualify for the SNWL with the team that made me the better person I’m today and I really can’t wait to play part in the national league.

Q: And then came the first Banyana Banyana national training camp and international friendly for 2020 with you named as South African captain. Tell us about your emotions and experiences being appointed captain of Banyana Banyana against Lesotho.
Lebogang Ramalepe: I was so happy and nervous at the same time ‘coz I never thought I would captain the national team anytime soon after being the 2nd vice captain at the world cup. But I took the challenge and did my best on the day of the game.

Q: I’m sure you can’t wait to get back on the football field after #coronavirus pandemic has been eliminated from our lives. What are you hoping to achieve as a footballer in 2020?
Lebogang Ramalepe: Yes, the waiting has been long for me and my team and with all this happening now the #coronaVirus pandemic is really disrupting the preparations but we just have to be patient and obey the laws and wait until everything is back to normal. I wanna do my best in the league and also, I was hoping to secure a contract abroad but I don’t think it will happen anytime soon ‘coz of this pandemic.

Q: What else do you do besides playing football? Are you a full-time player?
Lebogang Ramalepe: I have registered a short course at an FET but I can say I’m a full time footballer, just that this year I decided to challenge myself and try juggle both.

Q: And that pro club signing? Are you anywhere near signing for a pro club outside SA?
Lebogang Ramalepe: Mmmmh…..I can’t say I’m near to nailing that contract but I’m always ready for a challenge to go play abroad.

Q: What is your club training schedule like?
Lebogang Ramalepe: The team has been training since the start of March but then, after the out break of #coronavirus, everything is put on hold and I’m believing that once everything is back to normal, we will continue with preparations.

Q: Your most admired footballers? And sportswomen?
Lebogang Ramalepe: Growing up I have had many players I looked up to. In 2009 I had an opportunity to play against the best in the province and that was Noko Matlou in the Sasol league. And I have watched her many times in the national team colours with the likes of Amanda Dlamini, Mamello Makhabane, Sanah Mollo and the other players. At an early age I really wanted to be just like them and represent the nation.

Q: Your toughest football opponents?
Lebogang Ramalepe: USA, Germany and Sweden. These teams really made me run.

Q: Your fav music? And food?
Lebogang Ramalepe: I listen to all genres as long they have messages that speaks to my soul.

Q: What would you like to achieve as an international footballer?
Lebogang Ramalepe: Mmmh….I really can’t wait to reach 100 international caps and secure a contract abroad. I want to study and learn more about sports, not football only.

Q: Would you like to coach after retiring from international football?
Lebogang Ramalepe: Mmmmh….I never thought of coach but I would like to be more involved in football after my career is done.

South Africa’s Struggling Sportswomen Also Need Help During #CoronaVirus Pandemic By Cheryl Roberts

26 Mar

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Much has been written and said about our #coronavirus pandemic concerns and impact on human life, especially the working class. Amongst my concerns are the additional anxieties imposed on the struggling sportswomen, who are without any possible income during this time.
Let me elaborate: In South African sport, very few elite sportswomen are nationally contracted and get monthly salaries. Very few sportswomen are on SASCOC’s elite programme OPEX that financially assists elite sportswomen preparing for Olympic participation. In some sports like netball, football and rugby, the sportswomen receive a payment/stipend for being in national camp or playing an international match. This is done on the basis of a national camp being held or an intenational being played.
At provincial level, some sports like rugby and cricket give the sportswomen a nominal playing fee for representing provincially. Very few of SA’s elite sportswomen are sponsored and given monthly retainers. Honestly, South Africa’s sportswomen, except for a few elite sportswomen and privileged sportswomen struggle to be in sport. Now with the #coronavirus pandemic facing society and all sport being suspended until whatever, this ‘loss of money’, however nominal it is, impacts negatively on the already struggling sportswomen.
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Look at this! South Africa’s already struggling black women pro golfers battled to find the oney to play the pro Sunshine Tour. Now that its wrapped, they would have played some pro-ams and done some private coaching. But with public facilities closed, sport suspended and our country responding to a national lockdown, there’s no income coming the way of our struggling women golfers. There’s much unemployment, joblessness, temp contract workers amongst South Africa’s provincial women rugby players. Some provincial rugby federations give the women players a monthly stipend to come to training and play provincial matches. Trust me when I say that the unemployed provincial players rely on this money, no matter how nominal it is.
SA’s national women’s football squad should have been in training for continental qualifiers. For this, they would have received payment for being in camp and playing. Now with all sport suspended, there’s no income for the women footballers who rely on this income.
Then there’s the provincial women cricketers who also had their season #coronavirus interrupted and suspended. Some provincial cricket federations give the players a stipend for provincial matches played. Two more rounds of matches had to be completed.
With sport activities all suspended, there’s no human interaction happening for the sportswomen. At least, when you at trining or playing a match, your struggling plight becomes known and you get some financial help from fellow team mates or the coaches. I know this happens in South frican sport. We help our struggling sportswomen.
What about state of mental health of our sportswomen with them worrying about their health and money to survive?
There’s a big difference between helping sports federations in distress from loss of income emanating from postponed and cancelled events and helping sportswomen who are really struggling to survive because they focus on elite participation in sport without a monthly salary.
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SA’s Minister of Arts, Culture and Sport has announced a R150
million fund to assist artists and sport for incme loss during this time of the #coronavirus pandemic. Will some of these millions reach the struggling sportswomen, battling the odds?
We cannot and should not ignore SA’s struggling sportswomen, especially the black and working class sportswomen who don’t have the privilege of getting an income. We must look at sports of netball, football, pro golf and the women caddies, cricket and other sports at provincial and national levels. To ignore struggling sportswomen would be inhumane, unjust and uncaring.

When Will South African Government Provide Better Deal For South Africa’s Sportswomen?  By Cheryl Roberts

19 Mar

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 In our South Africancapitalist society, inequalities in sport across class, gender and colour willexist. But who in South African sport is going to take action and lead theprogramme that will root out gender inequalities in sport, the nationalprogramme that will ensure women’s sports and sportswomen will be accorded thefoundation of strength through to elite levels of the pyramid, to participate in sport?
What I am asking here iswho is going to take responsibility and shake men’s control of the South African sports network? Its not that we are against men being officials and leaders in sport. No, it’s not that. Its because men officialdom have shown over the centuries and decades that they prioritise men’s involvement in sport with resource and money allocation and don’t care much about eradicating and eliminating gender inequalities in sport. The national sports federations in South Africa – most of them – men controlled will say they support doing more for women in sport but always table the excuse there is ‘no money’.
I have asked this often: If there is money for men’s sports why can’tthere be money for women’s sports? So to whom does women insport and sportswomen turn to in our national bid to eliminate gender inequalities in sport? We have had enough of getting some crumbs here andthere, some handouts sometimes. We want sportsgirls and sportswomen to participate in sport without the chains that shackle them. So now we turn to our national government to speak out aginst the gender inequalities in sport because a national government that allows such inequalities to grow and fester and be consolidated reflects a government seemingly unconcerned about women’s sport not getting the support it should be getting.

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South Africa’s Minister of Sport is fully aware of the gender inequalities in sport. After all, South African society is littered with inequalities. But there’s nothing forthcoming from the Minister of Sport nor his ministry about how they are going to challenge men’s control of sport. What would we like to seebeing put forward by the Minister of Sport. Firstly, call in all national sports federations and lay down the ground rule – make it a national sports commandment – that there should be no male gender preference over women’ssports in any sport where both genders are participating in the sport. Makenational sports officialdom understand this! Ask each national sportsfederation about their objectives to eliminate gender inequalities in theirsport and advance girls and women’s participation in their sport. Ask the men dominated sports of rugby, football, cricket, boxing why so few domestic competitions are held for women in these sports. Demand a time frame for genderinequalities to be eliminated, for women’s participation in sport to beprioritised on the same level as men in sport. Address the challenges of moeyallocation to fund women in sport, men’s control of sport, sexism, misogyny,abuse, rape in sport.   Secondly, hold discussions with corporates and ask each corporate to sponsor/fund at least one women’ssport, one national team and several sportswomen.  Media must also be called in and told to conscientise their content, to create and feature content that centers women insport. These discussions must be forthright and on point. Our objective is to look after all genders participating in sport, to provide strong foundations for all in sport, to prioritise all genders and not only men in sport. Government must stipulate what is required for us as a society to overcome inequalities and unlock all potential and talent in sport. Government has the power to do this. Most importantly, government can implement laws that will compel all involved with sport to never consolidate gender inequalities in sport.

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We acknowledge our world, Olympic and continental sportswomen champions and world class sportswomen produced through South Africa’s sports network, throughout the post-apartheid era. This doesn’t mean SA’s sportsgirls and sportswomen haven’t struggled against the adversity of participating in sport in an unequal society. Nor does it mean that the system has been just to women in sport. Sponsorship and funding ofwomen’s sports remains one of the biggest challenges women and sport must encounter and confront. A little sponsorship here and there has surfaced but its always after litany of struggles experienced by the elite sportswomen. If corporates can sponsor men’s sport, the they can also sponsor women’s sports.
South Africa’s current Minister of Sport, since assuming office hasn’t indicated his intentions of advancing women’s sports in SA. Congratulating some of SA’s sportswomen on social media doesn’t eliminate gender inequalities! We demand a national programme of action, instituted and implemented by the sports ministry and adhered to by all national sports federations.
For how much longer must wego on calling out gender discrimination in sport, gender inequalities in sport in SA? We have had enough and want government intervention to call to order national sports federations, to challenge and stop men’s control of sport and toforce corporates to sponsor women’s sport. Government has the power to do this and they have the support of SA’s sportswomen. 

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Teenage Springbok Unam Tose Wants To Be World Rugby’s Top Scrum Half By Cheryl Roberts

9 Mar

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At just 19 years old, Unam Tose last year became a Springbok when she got called up to the Springbok team to play Scotland in South Africa. That’s not all! Teenage rugby player Unam Tose who plays provincial rugby for Border, also got given the women Springboks vice-captain position in the last match against Scotland in Cape Town. Not yet 20 years old but Unam Tose already knows she wants to be world rugby’s outstanding scrum half and to be a rugby World Cup champion.

In this Q and A interview with ‘South African SportsWoman’ Publisher, Cheryl Roberts, we learn about Unam Tose’s love of rugby, her rugby ambitions and World Cup ambitions.

Q: You had a remarkable 2019 rugby year. What are your reflections on your performances?
Unam Tose: My reflections: I’m happy and proud of myself for being able to implement what my coaches taught me and also be able to connect with other players because I believe they also played a part in my performances.
Q: In 2019, still a teenager, you made the Springbok team. How did this national selection impact on you?
Unam Tose: Being a Springbok was the most thing I ever wanted. That impacted on me to do good at all times because I’m no longer representing me only and now there’s a nation/country involved.
Q: And your appointment as Springbok Vice Captain for the match: SA v Scotland must have surprised you. What did you learn from that international game?
Unam Tose: A: I never saw that coming, but it was a lesson that boosted my communication and leadership skills.
Q: Are you studying this year?
Unam Tose: A: Yes. I’m a second year student at University of Fort Hare.
Q: Are you hoping to play pro rugby soon outside South Africa?
Unam Tose: A: Not too soon because I’m still studying. But I do want to one day play pro rugby. I’d love to…..,
Q: Tell us about your rugby training with Border women’s rugby and Springbok team.
Unam Tose: A: Border is a house of pain and love. When I’m training with them, I feel loved and feel energy every where. At Border, everyone wants to learn new skills.
And with Springboks it’s level of training is much higher than provincial Border. But the motivation is the same as the spirit at both training sessions.
Q: When and where did you start playing rugby?
Unam Tose: A: I started playing in 2012 at Tsholomnqa in the Eastern Cape.
Q: Who are your role models in rugby?
Unam Tose: My role models are women rugby players from Botder, Aphiwe Ngwevu and Lusanda Dumke, and men rugby players Faf de klerk and Aaron Smith.
Q: What would you like to achieve from rugby over the next 3 years?
Unam Tose: To be known worldwide as a best scrum half and to be a rugby World Cup winner.
Q: You obviously want to play in a women’s rugby World Cup. You working on making it to play for SA in the 2021 women’s WC?
Unam Tose: Yes. For sure.
Q: What improvements do you hope to see for women’s rugby in SA?
Unam Tose: For women’s rugby to be recognised and for women’s rugby games in South Africa to be televised and sponsored.

Who Is Best To Lead SASCOC? By Cheryl Roberts

8 Mar

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Opinion

SASCOC controls and administers sport in South Africa, outside of government. With SASCOC due to have elections for election officials to serve on both the executive committee and SASCOC Board, we must ask about the quality of officials and sports leaders that are available to lead SASCOC.

I stated in a previous article that SASCOC must have authentic leadership. Where will this authentic, honest, visionary leadership come from? It should and must include sports of athletics, swimming and netball because athletics and swimming are not only the Olympic sports that have brought in South Africa’s Olympic medals but because these sports have shown they are organised to surface talent and produce Olympic and world championship medals. And obviously the leadership of these sports knows what it takes to organise and deliver sport from grassroots to elite participation. And netball because it’s the biggest women’s sports in South Africa. Sports such as rugby, football and cricket can stay out of this election!
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Who and what should be the SASCOC line-up? The President of Swimming South Africa, Alan Fritz gets my support. So does the President of Athletics South Africa, Aleck Skhosana. And also the President of Netball South Africa Cecilia Molokwane. Lets back either Alan Fritz or Aleck Skhosana for President and first vice-president of SASCOC. Because whomever becomes SASCOC president must resign from their national federation as an official and because the country needs Cecilia Molokwane to stay on as President of NSA until the 2023 netball world cup in SA, we can’t have Cecilia Molokwane becoming SASCOC president now. But Cecilia Molokwane must be on the SASCOC exco.

I’m also of the opinion that Barry Hendricks, from Gauteng Sports Confederaton should be part of the SASCOC officialdom because he desperately wants to be there and because he doesn’t come from a national federation but from a provincial sports structure. After doing my research, I concluded that Barry Hendricks is not the person to lead SASCOC nor become Pesident of SASCOC. An exco position is okay for Barry Hendricks, but not SASCOC Presidency.

Officials like Kobus Marais and Jerry Segwaba and Merrill King shouldn’t serve on SASCOC, anymore. They have been there on SASCOC and have reached their sell by date. They really can’t offer SASCOC anything new and need to make way for new, fresh, visionary leadership. Some of the women officials that SASCOC needs and must include are the experienced Nomsa Mahlangu and Ntambi Ravele.

What we don’t want is ambitious people, especially men officials who are intent and determined to gain control of SASCOC. What we don’t want is a Coloured cabal gaining control of SASCOC. What we don’t want are those who have business connections and interests and who want control of SASCOC for their personal business iterests. This is where Aleck Skhosana, Cecilia Molokwane and Allan Fritz show up as the non-business connected officials in sport. They are not involved in personal businesses and obviously don’t want to get control of SASCOC to grow their business and make business.

At the time of writing this opinion article, there’s an uproar about the SASCOC nominations after ASA President Aleck Skhosana and Netball SA President Cecilia Molokwane had their nominations ‘thrown out’ because of some ‘out of order irregularities’ regarding documents required for the nominations process.

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Should the SASCOC elections be postponed? They surely should not be allowed to go ahead if the nominations of Aleck Skhosana and Cecilia Molokwane are not accepted. Athletics and netball are SA’s ‘BIG’ sports and SASCOC can’t and should not do without these officials for the journey ahead.

I’m going to state this again about the SASCOC leadership! We don’t want same old, same old officials serving on SASCOC. One term is enough for all of you. And we don’t want cabals controlling SASCOC. Independent, visionary leadership is what sport in SA requires. And we don’t want those people who will divide SASCOC.

Sports federations are encouraged and urged to think about authentic leadership to be in charge of SASCOC. Don’t accept promises from presidential candidates desperate to get SASCOC votes. Remember that the Presidents of Athletics South Africa and Swimming South Africa have no business connections but are 8-5 salaried employees so they are not going to be enriching themselves and business connections.

How do you decide on authentic leadership? Look at the candidates and how they go about achieving for their sport and leading their sport. You will find independent, visionary leadership in the sports led by capable, authentic officials.

Netball Coach Danlee Matthews Gets Head Coach Appointments By Cheryl Roberts

25 Feb

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Q and A interview with netball coach Danlee Matthews

Former international netballer Danlee Matthews from Kraaifontein in Cape Town has been appointed head coach of University of the Western Cape (UWC) netball team and the Cape Town-based Tornados netball team, that will play in netball’s national league, and be a representative team of Western Cape netball. Danlee was assistant coach of the Western Cape Stings team in the national league. Working full-time, coaching after work and being a mother is going to be challenging for netball coach Danlee Matthews but she says she’s ready to take it all on, survive and deliver quality netball coaching

Q: Danlee, You recently got two head coach appointments. Tell us more about these coaching positions.

Danlee: Yes I was appointed head coach of Tornados, WP A senior ladies and UWC netball. The Tornados team will take part in the Telkom netball league, the CTNF Senior A team will take part in the SPAR National Championships in Stellenbosch in August 2020 and UWC will take part in USSA ‘s in July 2020 and Varsity Cup end of August 2020.

Q: You already working out strategy and tactics for the national league and varsity netball tournaments?
Danlee: Yes, I have a idea what the netball landscape looks like in SA, but I will predominantly work on my teams strategies and not focus too much on what the other teams are doing.

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Q: When did you play for SA and when did you retire?
Danlee: I played for the SA team between 2000-2006, before that I played for the SA U/21 team between 1998-2000. I went to the Senior World Cup in Jamaica in 2003 and the U/21 World Cup in Wales in 2000. I was forced to stop playing at the end of 2006 due to occurring knee injuries.

Q: When did you start coaching?
Danlee: I officially started coaching in 2007 but have been coaching at schools and clubs in my community while I was still actively playing. I obtained my coaching qualifications at Netball SA and am a qualified coach as well as a Provincial Coach Developer.

Q: How will you do selections for the Tornado’s team in the national team?

Danlee: Western Cape Netball Federation has decided that the Telkom Netball League teams for 2020 will be selected from the whole Western Cape and so we have selected best 30 players across WC. The Tornados consists of 15 players of which 12 travelling will travel and 3 non-travelling reserves.

Q: What are you hoping to achieve as a debut head coach in the national league?

Danlee: That my team deliver consistent performances every match, that the players get recognition for their performances by getting call ups to national squads and that we win the league, win promotions and relegation match and play in the top league next year.

Q: How would you like your netball teams and players to improve during 2020?

Danlee: They need to achieve their personal goals(realistic) that they set for themselves, stay true to who they are and where they come from and stick to the basics. All of this is achievable if our belief system is strong and motivated to achieve our goals.

Q: You are a mother and work full-time. And you are a netball head coach. How will you be managing all three responsibilities?

Danlee: I am very lucky to have a very supportive husband and family who helps when I need somebody to look after the two men in my life. I try to balance my time accordingly between work, netball and my private life.

Q: What improvements do you hope to see in netball in South Africa so the game can grow?

Danlee: Consistent elite competition over longer periods of time with the top players in the country so that our players get used to the intensity needed to compete at international level all the time. Also needed are development programs for players in our disadvantaged areas with qualified coaches with technical and scientific programs to ensure they can participate and compete at the highest level when needed.

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Q: How will WECSA’s assistance help the Tornado’s preparation to play in the national league?

Danlee: WECSA’s role in the WCNF HP programme is of utmost importance, as they support the scientific services and other services needed to ensure the players are physically and mentally ready to compete at the elite level. This also gives me, as the coach, the peace of mind to know that my players are conditioned and will be supported if an injury might occur.

Opinion: South African Sport And SASCOC Needs Authentic Leadership! By Cheryl Roberts

25 Feb

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Let’s get to the point and unashamedly and unapologetically state that sport officialdom in South Africa is at its lowest, that SASCOC leadership must firstly be called out and challenged and officialdom must be re-visited and refreshed.
Its 2020! Why are people who have been occupying positions within SASCOC for so many years still getting to be officials of SASCOC? Where is the new, fresh, vibrant, visionary officials and leaders who can take SASCOC forward?
SASCOC elections are coming up; will be held soon. Electioneering and campaigning is underway. There are comments and opinions about a ‘coloured cabal’ wanting to take control of SASCOC. There are comments about ‘the same people’ wanting to be elected. There are opinions that one man, who is determined to be SASCOC president and has his campaign in full swing is not ‘the best person’ to lead SASCOC. There are rumours circulating that sports federations are being ‘made promises’ if they vote for a particular man candidate. And then there’s the condemnation by a woman sports official against a man official in the elections race for saying the woman official’s SASCOC nomination should not be supported.
Here are the questions about SASCOC and all those intent on gaining control of SASCOC officialdom:
. Do you understand the depth of crisis of confidence that SASCOC faces?
. Who allowed SASCOC to get into this lowest level of governance with warring factions fighting for control of SASCOC?
. Why do people really want to be on the SASCOC exco and Board?
. Do those who want to to be elected really have ideas and the vision to take forward sport in SA?
. Who is speaking out against the gender inequalities in sport? Why are white-dominated sports teams allowed by SASCOC?

Opinions and suggestions:

. Being on the SASCOC exco and board must be for only one term of four years. Then you get out and go do whatever outside of a SASCOC position but you are not going to stay occupying a SASCOC position, getting paid money and you offer nothing much.

. Where are the Olympic sports officials from swimming, athletics, rowing, triathlon – sports that have brought in SA’s Olympic medals – in SASCOC leadership? These are the officials whom should be serving on SASCOC exco and board. One of these sports should have the SASCOC presidency! They deliver the Olympic medals, world championship and continental titles and know how to organise sport.

. Some women have been part of SASCOC leadership but you rarely hear these women speak out and challenge patriarchal control and male-domination of SASCOC and sport in SA. We want conscious women to be officials and leaders of SASCOC, not women who want positions to further their personal beings.

. Anyone who has already served a four year term on the SASCOC exco and board must not be voted or co-opted back onto SASCOC. You had your time and opportunity and you messed up and allowed SASCOC to slip and slide downwards.
Let’s be honest! SASCOC as a representative sports structure has no respect from South Africa. People laugh at SASCOC at every opportunity, don’t believe in SASCOC and have no faith in SASCOC. There’s opinion that one man and his cabal, intent on gaining control of SASCOC, will further divide sport in SA and doesn’t have the capability to impact positively on SASCOC leadership.
So where does that leave the elections and all the ambitious people, who want positions on SASCOC exco and board? If you’ve been there before on SASCOC, we don’t want you there again. Out you go! If you are coming into SASCOC for business interests, then we don’t want you on SASCOC. For those who want to contest the SASCOC elections, we want you to have the answers on taking sport forward. We want your abilities, your vision and ideas to lead sport in SA. And get this! We don’t want useless officials.