SA set to make Afcon a brilliant African showpiece

South Africa is determined to make the African continent proud by hosting a lively and brilliant 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon), says Sports and Recreation Director-General Alec Moemi.

“We promise a very lively and brilliant African showpiece, and we believe that South Africa will once again make Africa proud by a hosting a successful continental tournament. We are of the opinion that hosting an African showpiece right on the heels of the 2010 FIFA World Cup … bodes well for the country.

“South Africans as usual must come out in their numbers to support all African teams and most importantly, to support our national team, Bafana Bafana,” Moemi told SAnews at Bophelong Sports Club in Diepsloot, where 120 children from four different schools were introduced to touch rugby in the under-10 and under-12 age groups.

South Africa will host the 2013 Afcon, which kicks-off on January 19 with the official match between Bafana Bafana and Cape Verde at Soccer City Stadium. The final match will also be played at the same venue on February 10.

The touch rugby outreach programme is spearheaded by Tsogo Sun through their SunCares Sports Academy as part of the upcoming South Africa’s premier Sports Awards outreach programme.

Moemi said corporate partners who support their programmes should not only focus on elite sports, but they should also do development sport.

“We want to urge all our corporate partners to reach out to communities that had been neglected before; they must reach out to young children who need to be given opportunities for their talents to be realised and for their dreams to come to fruition,” he said.

While some people believe that the money used for the SA Sports Awards should be prioritised for other pressing issues in the country, Moemi said: “The awards are not an evening of glitz and drama; but they are also a catalyst for greater social change such as this SunCares sports outreach programme.

“The bulk of the money we spent on the awards does not necessarily go to dinner, but it is spent on prize money in recognition of the amazing talent of our athletes and it also goes to sport development.”

Speaking to the young rugby players, SA Sports Awards nominee and veteran Moroka Swallows striker, Siyabonga Nomvethe, said: “It is good to participate in any sporting code, but it is also important to concentrate on education. For you be our future rugby stars, you need to be disciplined.”

His sentiments were echoed by wheelchair tennis ace Lucas Sithole, who told the kids that sport and education were a dynamic combination. “If you take sports seriously, you have to take education seriously as well.”

Group Commercial Executive of Tsogo Sun, Dhrupal Amin, said the outreach programme supported the broader schooling curriculum, particularly the need for extracurricular activity as outlined by the national Department of Basic Education and the Department of Sports and Recreation.

“Our programmes are in line with the government strategy of providing schools with sports that include training, intra and interschool league events, tournaments and development academies for talent that is identified,” said Amin. –