By Ronald Peters

Sports talent in South Africa is plentiful, but opportunities are not. Because of this, there is a wide scope for exposing undeveloped talent to more development opportunities so these individuals may also have the opportunity to achieve their full potential.

It is commonly known that sports opportunities and the availability of sports resources in South Africa unfortunately are centred to a large extent around the major cities. If one looks at these opportunities and availability at school level, they are largely focused on the sports schools that are financially stronger than public schools and universities. This means that children and adults who are not in these areas or institutions will find it much more difficult to develop their talents to their full potential. This maldistribution of resources is aggravated by the misrepresentation of “transformation” by our political bodies that fail to distinguish between transformation and discrimination, but this is a topic for another day.

There is no simple solution to this complex challenge, but someone will have to take responsibility to promote the future of sports and the development of sports talent in our country. At AfriForum Sport, one of our two main focus areas is making sports resources more accessible to our members. We are going to achieve this by, among other things, creating a network of AfriForum Sport partners where sports suppliers from across the country will offer their products and services to our members at lower prices. Furthermore, we are going to develop an online platform where top quality coaching, exercise programmes and other opportunities will be made available to our members. This will mean that no matter where you find yourself geographically, you will have access to top quality sports resources.

However, we cannot focus only on these individuals who have been blessed with such talents, we will also have to focus strongly on those individuals who coach and train our future sports stars. AfriForum Sport therefore is going to focus strongly also on programmes and courses to empower our sports coaches with the necessary knowledge and resources. Once again by using our online platform, teachers and other coaches will receive access to training and resources that in the past have been either too costly or not practically feasible.

Competition is in our blood, and for this reason AfriForum Sport will on an ongoing basis organise competitions, whether online or in the form of tournaments, that will offer our future sports stars, coaches and sports teams an opportunity to compete against each other and to showcase their talents and gifts at a professional and social level. It is extremely important for us not only to develop sports talent but also to create merit opportunities where these talented individuals may be spotted and praised.

It is a reality that we ourselves will have to take responsibility for the future of our communities, our children, our schools and also our sports. We will not allow this motivating source of our culture and our communities to go downhill. We are taking the ball in our own hands.

Ronald Peters is Manager of AfriForum Sport.

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