SASCOC on Saturday reiterated its expectation for Team South Africa to bag 10 medals at this year’s Rio Olympics.
Speaking at SASCOC’s first General Council Meeting for the year, which was attended by 71 Federations, President Gideon Sam, said that he was confident that TeamSA will rise to the occasion and do the country proud.
The meeting was addressed by Minister of Sports and Recreation, Fikile Mbalula, who also reconfirmed the department’s support for TeamSA. The Minister confirmed that his department has committed additional funding to SASCOC over and above the SASCOC fiscal transfer as part of the focused support to all the medal contenders.
“Specific needs for coaches of medal contenders will be identified as the focus in the preparations is narrowed. Extra technical sport support in terms of strategic approach and financial support to the coaches will then be provided in order to increase the possibilities and opportunities to realise and secure medals for our athletes”, said Minister Mbalula.
“As we intensify the preparations, we must ensure that the athletes are physically and mentally prepared for the titanic battles that lie ahead. As Government, we will do everything in our power to ensure that our athletes fly the South African flag high and collect medals that will put smiles on the faces of this sport –loving nation,” Mbalula added.
Sam informed the delegates of SASCOC’s main mandate which is high performance – OPEX and coaching.
“Our role is to assist National Federations to deliver the team to events. We have a High Performance advisory committee chaired by CEO Tubby Reddy to assist that these mandates are achieved, in terms of our athletes’ monitoring.
“With the athletes we identified coming out of the NFs’ stables, we are assisting and walking with them through the journey. Others have fallen away due to various issues such as not making it in terms of world rankings, resigning etc,” Sam said.
Sam informed the meeting of the importance of a coaching consultant whose services SASCOC is utilizing. The consultant has been talking to the athletes and coaches to find out where they are in terms of what they want to achieve at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Sam notified the meeting that the consultant’s feedback was that some NFs are fantastic but others are not even sure of their own programmes.
Moving to the OPEX programme, Sam explained the need to protect the athletes in the system.
“We need to take care of athletes when they are injured or to ensure that they don’t take prohibited substances. These athletes are like professionals and they move all over the world but we don’t know what they are doing so we need to find a mechanism that we make sure that we know what they are doing and that they are clean athletes,” Sam said.
Sam also clarified how SASCOC arrives at who the athletes chosen for the OPEX programme are. He highlighted that the athletes should be ranked according to the world standards.
“Opex is on track and after our first team announcement in May, we will start with preparations for the second global training camp for the Olympic and Paralympic teams. These global camps allow athletes from diff sports codes to know each other and feel that they are part of the team,” said Sam.
Sam gave an update on sports coaching as one of SASCOC’s main mandate. He informed the delegates that SASCOC has done exceptionally well as far as coaching is concerned. NFs and provinces are encouraged to identify and recognise their coaches through their Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process to host graduation ceremonies and give recognition to their coaches. Coaches in KwaZulu-Natal graduated in March 2016 and were conferred coaching designations.
“We want to establish a coaching association of South Africa. The committee is working on this. We have been in touch with international bodies and they have recognised the work we are doing as far as coaching is concerned. We are ready to get into a professional association of coaches. Once we have the go ahead from SRSA, we should legislate this in the bill,” explained Sam.
“The Minister of Sports shall empower SASCOC to establish a professional body for sports coaching in the republic to facilitate all issues relating to education, development, training and licensing for anyone who wishes to participate in coaching in South Africa,” Sam added.
The President explained that the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) conducted a site visit at Olympic House to review the readiness of SASCOC to be granted the professional body for sports coaching in the country title. SAQA was pleased with their assessment and they gave a go ahead for this body to be formed.
“We have presented this professional coaching body formation idea to various stakeholders and they all rendered their support,” Sam concluded.
The issue of funding was discussed and Sam highlighted that SASCOC and SRSA have fought side by side to make it clear that there is need to source more money for sport in South Africa. He indicated that the budget for sport has been cut and the minister of sport has not kept quiet in asking for more.
“We have to think out of the box as National Federation of how are we going to make money. Let us tap into the opportunity of how we can use our data to attract sponsorship,” said Sam.
Meanwhile, Fikile Mbalula emphasised that transformation remains SRSA’s key objective. He will announce outcomes of the Eminent Persons Group on sport transformation monitoring and evaluation report for 2015 on 28 April 2016.
“When I announce the report in two weeks time we will apply the following punitive measures to those who do not comply:
“I will suspend or withdraw Government’s funding to the said federation due to non-compliance; I will withdraw Government’s recognition of the particular federation as a National Federation and where after I will publish such a decision in the Government Gazette; In essence, I will revoke the privilege of a federation to host and bid for major and mega international tournaments in the Republic and withdraw recognition of the said federation; I will withdraw the federation’s opportunity to be awarded national colours via SASCOC to players who participate under the auspices of that particular federation in order to represent the Republic internationally and nationally; I will terminate the relationship and any co-operation between SRSA and the said federation due to non-compliance. Finally I will withdraw political support and endorsements for sponsorships,” explained Mbalula.
Mbalula also highlighted on the recent allegations of match-fixing implicating cricket and football in the main and discouraged the meeting from practicing such activities. He informed the meeting that the ministry will leave no stone unturned and get to the bottom of the allegations as match-fixing is a criminal offence in South African law.
Moving to the Durban 2022 Commonwealth Games, Mbalula advised that a lot of work regarding preliminary obligations in the Games Organising phase has already been processed.
“The audited financial statements of the Bid Committee together with the close-out report have been received from the Bid Committee. The draft articles of association for the Bid Company have also been finalised. This has therefore paved way for the first meeting of the Inter-Ministerial Committee which will resolve on this and outline a framework for the games organising process,” Mbalula added.