The SA Sports Awards; South Africa’s premier sport awards event that recognises the amazing talent within our Nation. Apart from recognising the top athletes in the various sporting codes the SA Sports Awards has successfully created heroes in the sporting world for young kids to emulate and aspire to. The prestigious event annually conducts outreach programs, and has this year placed its focus on the Tsogo Sun SunCares Sports Academy in Diepsloot. The outreach program brings together sports icons and young kids to facilitate mentoring and coaching.
The successful and steadily growing Tsogo Sun SunCares Sports Academy, which is reaching more than 1 200 participants in 42 Gauteng schools, has been officially and fully endorsed by the Minister of Sports & Recreation, Fikile Mbalula, who attended a Sports Academy training session together with several SA Sports Awards nominees on 1 November, as part of the SA Sports Awards Outreach program.
The SunCares sports programme is being endorsed for its strong alignment with the objectives of the School Sports Framework developed by the departments of Sports & Recreation and Basic Education.
“Sport has the capacity to impact positively on young lives, instilling strong values and excellent leadership skills. Programmes such as the SunCares Sports Academy, which provide the catalyst for government’s vision to be realised, are invaluable in making a difference to the future of this country – through its young people,” says Minister of Sports & Recreation, Fikile Mbalula.
“Through programmes such as these, that are focused extra-curricular school activities, we are able to make school sport accessible to all learners through an effective strategy and infrastructure, as well as develop the skills and build on the capacity of the coaches in the various sports. A key element is providing development of the sporting codes as well as providing for talent to be identified, harnessed and nurtured for further success.
“Within an integrated school sport system, both federations and their clubs, together with school sport code committees, will seek to ensure that a predictable programme of organised activities is available every week so that learners have access to ongoing league programmes, talent identification and development, coaching to improve skills, a choice of different sports, and opportunities to volunteer in sport,” continues Minister Mbalula.
Says Dhrupal Amin, Group Commercial Executive of Tsogo Sun, “The SunCares Sports Academy was developed specifically to support the broader school curriculum, and directly in line with government policies. This endorsement is a clear and greatly appreciated validation of the significant resources we have poured into this Academy, which we as a group so strongly believe in. We are exceptionally proud that our engagement with the Department of Sports & Recreation, the Department of Education, sporting unions and the community, which has ensured the success of the programme, has been recognised by government through this endorsement.”
The SunCares Sports Academy programme supports the broader schooling curriculum, particularly the need for extra-curricular activity as outlined by the national Department of Education and the Department of Sports. Says Amin, “Our programmes are in line with the government strategy of providing schools with sports programmes that include training, intra- and interschool league events, tournaments and development academies for talent that is identified.
“Tsogo Sun truly believes that, through the provision of extra-curricular activities, we can deliver essential life skills, health care, and wellness education to complement the formal curriculum and make a lasting contribution to the lives of the disadvantaged South African youth that the Sports Academy reaches by providing a foundation that will enable them to reach their full potential.”
The Sports Academy not only has the capacity to transform the lives of young learners by developing their sporting talent, but also those of teachers, coaches, referees and community members, by providing them with accredited skills, jobs and procurement deals. The Academy currently includes soccer, rugby and swimming development programme with cricket and netball development programmes in the pipeline around the country.
Says Gauteng Lions president Kevin de Klerk, “We are tremendously grateful for all the great work undertaken by the Togo Sun SunCares program alongside Walter Minaar and Malcolm Larsen of the Equina Rugby Club for pioneering this initiative and proving the facilities necessary to nurture sporting development in previously disadvantaged communities, while keeping with the Minister of Sports & Recreation, Fikile Mbalula desire to get back to the grass roots of sports”.