A topic in South Africa that arouses much debate.
For many people in South Africa there’s nothing better to do on a Saturday afternoon then to watch our beloved hero’s take to the field in our famous green and gold to do battle with our rivals on the sports field. Rugby, football (soccer), cricket, netball, hockey you name it we play it and in most sporting codes we are extremely competitive and in some we even feature in the top ten in the world. The question at hand though, is transformation helping or hindering or national teams?
I see transformation a positive step in the right direction and that direction is inclusion! Inclusion of everyone regardless of race or religion. Where the transformation system falls down for me is quotas and the quota system as a whole. I believe our government is after a quick fix solution to a problem that’s in grained into our country over decades of oppression and unfair treatment towards people that are not white and therein lays the problem.
As someone whose played most of our major sporting codes from a young age the problem for me is not as black and white as people think, (no pun intended) the problem is at the grass roots level. Every child represents child is a difficult challenge, but I don’t think enough emphasis is being put on our school system where in many schools around the country we see a vast number of different children from different backgrounds. If we concentrated on a the schools and creating a culture at grass root level that everyone will be included regardless of race or religion I believe we will be well on our way to solving the problem at national level.
As a former cricket coach to children from the ages of 5 to 15 I speak from experience when I say that when the coaches care about what they are doing the children benefit the most because as a coach you have the chance to shape a young child’s mind and instill values in them that they will carry forward with them for the rest of their lives and this is why coaches need to be taught not only the fundamentals of the sporting code they are coaching but the fundamentals of being a human being as well. Showing children how to share a field, how to be fair to one and other and how to come together can only improve both the coaches’ sense of satisfaction in his/ her job and the way that those children will see the world.
Now I know there are a lot of obstacles facing such an enormous as transformation and one of the biggest problems I see in South Africa is the very real issue of poverty. Most of the best coaches are at the best schools in the country while the rest of the schools must choose from unqualified teachers and parents and this is the issue I would most like to see addressed by our government. To provide coaches with the tools they need to mould young minds and effectively eradicate transformation as a topic of conversation and I know my solution will in all likelihood take two or three generations to fix but can you imagine watching a South African team running out onto the field one day truly free of the quota system and knowing that every single player on that field is supposed to be there through skill and sheer determination to play at the highest level for his/her country.