Voortrekker hosts massive Talent ID Festival

2008-09-01 00:00

The 13th annual rugby Talent ID Festival, hosted by Voortrekker High School, was held in Pietermaritzburg at the weekend.

This festival is used to identify the best available talent from the previously disadvantaged communities and to then take them through a process of preparing them for Craven Week and Grant Khomo trials next year year.

The tournament is not only used to identify players but referees and managers as well.

Players who have progressed through this festival are Cedric Mkhize, Jody Jenneker, Melusi “Barra” Mthethwa, Thabane Sangweni and Sizwe Zondo to name but a few. Many others are thriving in the club scene and the various academies as well.

The coaching co-ordinators of all five sub-unions selected their teams through separate trials held in each of the 11 municipal districts and then combined into regional squads they formed according to the five sub-unions as we know them.

All teams were prepared by their own coaches and development officers. Each sub-union, which incorporates all the district municipalities, hold trials to select the best U12, U15 and U17 players from historically disadvantaged communities only, which include Munster, Ixopo, Kokstad, Harding, Gamalakhe, Umlazi, KwaMashu, Umbumbulu, KwaDukuza, Clermont, Wentworth, KwaMakutha, Esikhawini, KwaDlangezwa, Stanger, Mandini, Ulundi, Pongola, Hluhluwe, Matubatuba, Vryheid, Dundee, Osizweni, Madadeni, Dannhauser, Bergville and other rural communities.

Around 500 players and 40 coaches and managers in each sub-union are involved in this process, except Ethekwini-Ilembe, where around 1 400 players and officials are involved.

The total number of players and officials involved in the trials and selection process is thus around 3 600 players and officials.

In each sub-union, 60 players (20 U12, 20 U15 and 20 U17 boys), are selected to represent the region. A total of 300 players attend the final tournament, together with 45 coaches and managers.

The five sub-unions, Lammergeyer, Zululand, Durban, Midlands and Southern KwaZulu-Natal, all participated with their U12, U15 and U17 teams.

There were also three visiting teams, Pelham U12, Alfred Nzo District U15 (Matatiele, Mount Frere Area) and Itembelihle U17 (New Brighton and Port Elizabeth area in the Eastern Cape). A short managers and coaches training workshop was held on July 19 to assist them to prepare for the festival.

At this tournament there were no winners. The competition format was changed as the organisers saw the festival as being solely held for the purpose of identifying talent.

The tournament was organised and run by Quentin Reynolds, the development manager for the KwaZulu-Natal Rugby Union, as well as the Midlands co-ordinator Khaya Memela and the local organising committee headed up by Douglas Hoskins.

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