When I speak about transformation in South African sport, it’s a topic that many find intimidating or it’s something that people have an opinion on. In other words it’s something that divides people and their opinions. When we think of transformation we think about numbers and whether players are good enough but I believe there’s a way to guarantee that transformation isn’t an issue. There are measures we can put in place so that we know all players are given equal chances at all levels of sport.
One way I think this is possible is at grass root level. I believe if we focus on children in underprivileged areas and focus on their school system or club system we will find a lot more talent in those areas. Rightnow what happens is we find one or 2 decent players and take them away from that area to play with people on their level or better. I don’t think this is the way forward for SA sport in general. We need to uplift these impoverished areas, uplift the club system, school system and provincial system. We would have to get the provincial and national sportsmen on board and to give of their time. I believe that if these children saw their heroes more often more of them would stay in sport and not choose to do other things like gangsterism and crime. There’s a distinct lack of choice for these children and if sport was more accessible they would choose sport every time. Children can inspire the future of sport in this country.
Now my plan comes with risks and a lot of personal sacrifice but I believe it would all be worth it in 10 or 20 years when we are one of the leading nations in sport in general instead of just our big name sports. There’s opportunity for coaching companies to get involved now and be well established and well placed to deliver top sports stars in the near future and yes it would take a monumental effort and therein lies the problem at the moment. No one is willing to put in the hard yards to do what is right not for yourself but for the betterment of others. If had the means to help I would and I would start in underprivileged communities. Help them and uplift the community as a whole instead of identifying individual talent and taking it away.
One problem in the way is that a lot of these areas are entrenched in gangsterism and crime in general and this is a big reason no one wants to help these children and so it turns into a cycle where children don’t have many choices and turn to the wrong things to make easy money but if we could be brave enough to continue as we face adversity, the benefits would be massive not only for sport but for the community as a whole. With children choosing to be on the sports field rather than being involved in criminal activities we can only win as a community, as a city, as a province and as a country. This is one way we can look at doing away with transformation and combat violence in our country at the same time.
By transforming the way we see these communities we can transform the way the world looks at South Africa and instead of seeing a divided people that are violent they will see togetherness, solidarity throughout the country through sport. Outsiders will see that the ability for change comes from within and will galvanise future generations the world over. It will not be easy but doing the right thing never is. All it is about is asking ourselves if it is worth it.