Varsity Sport SA the Answer

2013-10-29 01:08

2012 saw the introduction of Varsity Sport SA, with the inaugural competition kicking off with 7’s rugby where the University of Stellenbosch won the tournament with two of their players being called up to the Blitzbokke squad.

This initiative has done wonders for University sport and I feel that there is more to come that will benefit the country. The NCAA style competition is what a country like South Africa needs to feed the hunger of students who have the energy and time (surprisingly) to go support the different events. The NCAA in the United States is one of their sources of searching for talent on a large scale. Students are given the platform to express their talents without the pressure of the professional environment that can be cruel.

There are plenty of reasons why I believe this is good, not just only for universities in South Africa but the country as a whole. With the 7’s rugby, it is going to be very positive in growing the pool of players we can select for the Blitzbokke. Although this is the case, one might feel that 15 – man rugby is missing. 15-man rugby currently has structures that work for them and strengthening that department is not top of the agenda. Rugby 7’s has done well in the past and I can only see them going from strength to strength with the talent that will be exposed to them with this competition.

What has impressed me was how marginalised sporting codes received the much needed exposure. Hockey, beach volley and netball are among these codes and they have been to an extent successful.

We saw venues being filled up by students, high school learners and the general public. This will do a lot for the confidence of the players who are participants of these sporting codes. We have seen in the past how money has been a problem when it comes to these teams. With the television exposure these sporting codes are getting, we might actually see them obtain sponsors that could see them become more than just competitive on the international scene, but become world-beaters.

One of the downside to this is that although it may be good for the country’s sporting problems, we also see that the players should be groomed from a younger age. One feels that the transition to a competition like this would be aided by having structures that look at developing players at a younger age, so that once they get to university level, they are ready to compete at a really high level. This will mean improved performances by our amateur teams and that should also improve our professional teams’ performances which will transcend to the national team performances.

I really would like to give praise to the people who started this great initiative. It is good to know that we have people who truly care about the progression of South Africa on the international stage. We can finally be known as a giant in sport once more.

Bafana Bafana can finally take their place among the world elite in the next few years, the hockey sides can finally turn that potential into winning formula, the netball ladies can finally beat the top nations and promote netball on the African continent.

I am excited about the future of this beautiful country. I will leave you with a question (and statement) Confucius posed; “A youth is to be regarded with respect. How do we know that his future will not be equal to our present?”

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