Derelict School of Excellence

2012-05-12 19:29

Unsightly buildings and unkempt soccer fields are what one sees from the outside of the Transnet School of Excellence.

But the school’s problems are deeper than the building’s crumbling facade.

Besides its failure to lift trophies in recent times, its teams have been taking part in competitions without proper kit. Moreover, players have not been furnished with tracksuits or training kits.

Safa and Transnet are co-owners of the school, which was established in 1994.

In its heyday it produced the likes of Steven Pienaar, Brett Evans, the late Jeffrey Ntuka, Nkosinathi Nhleko, Daine Klate and Andile Cele.

But the school’s derelict state has had a detrimental effect on the staff, whose morale is downbeat.

One staff member said the situation was “embarrassing and out of hand”. The member said pupils were trained in their own clothes while the school waits for answers from Safa.

“It has been embarrassing to see a sponsored team playing without proper kit. Sometimes you get to see players wearing different apparel, and it looks untidy and unprofessional,” said the member, who did not want to be identified.

To protect its image, the parastatal decided pull the plug on its partnership with the school and channelled its focus on the academic side of the institution.

The move helped, as the school’s matric pass rate rose from 26.3% to 65% last year.

Transnet Foundation communications officer Sibusiso Ngomane said the company was responsible only for the academic programme, whereas Safa was

in charge of coaching, refereeing and other related development costs.

“With regards to the condition of the grounds, three of the four pitches are of a reasonable standard for an institution of this nature, although they can be upgraded to meet the standards required by Fifa,” said Ngomane.

“The school has a strict operational regime designed to ensure that all sports facilities are kept in an acceptable condition. During the 2011/12 financial year, we completed a project to upgrade the hostels and implement further repairs, including the renovation of the bathrooms. In total, Transnet has spent R4?million on renovations.”

Safa head of communications Dominic Chimhavi acknowledged there was an issue with the kit.

He said a request was sent to Puma, Safa’s sponsor, with regards to the designing of the school’s kit, which took some time to complete.

“It has now been finalised and the players should get their official kit by the end of next week at the latest,” said Chimhavi.

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