Coaches, pupils hopeful of a return to sport as non-contact training resumes
Inter-schools matches still prohibited
The Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture (DSRAC) and the Department of Education have emphasised that as schools return to non-contact training, inter-schools matches are still prohibited.
The inactivity of school sports in the last academic year has been devastating for pupils but when the lockdown regulations levels were tweaked it gave hope for school sports.
And when further direction was released by sporting mother bodies there was further optimism among scholars.
However, the government is trying to ease a smooth transition for the return of school sports.
“Suspension of inter-school participation remains suspended,” said Busisiwe Jemsana-Mantashe, spokesperson for the MEC of sport, recreation, arts and culture in the Eastern Cape.
“The critical issue for a smooth transition is that the school sport associations are supported to co-ordinate the registration of schools and learners for the annual sports programmes, prepare to develop adjusted leagues and fixtures to be ready once inter-school participation is allowed.
“DSRAC’s annual performance plan will focus on support to structures, facilitate capacity building programmes, provide sports equipment and attire and co-ordinate the participation of Eastern Cape in provincial and national schools’ championships,” Jemsana-Mantashe said.
East London’s Hudson Park High has welcomed the measures of school sports returning, but is still slightly disappointed.
“We are tentatively excited and a little bit apprehensive, seeing that the government has the final say on the reintroduction of contact sport for school pupils,” the school’s director of sport James Winstanley said.
“What we have is a situation where kids are excited and hopeful of sports but within that, there could be false hope.
“We are nervous because we may have a situation where it may not happen. With that said, they should be allowed to play.”
Winstanley believes that the hold put on sports from last year might have affected the development of the pupils as it sports are an important part of their identity.
“Sport is an integral part of the children, especially when you’re fully invested,” Winstanley said.
“And when it’s removed a large piece of you is taken away. Bear in mind that these are formative years, so it can have a detrimental effect.”
Dale College sports administrator Andrew Senekal shed light on the disappointment of those who were in matric in 2020 year and were set to play first team sport.
“For the matric learners and senior players, it was quite devastating,” Senekal said.
“It was their last year to represent the school and try to give to their best shot, so it was very difficult from their point of view.
“From a coach’s perspective, a lot of your players were reaching their peak and you couldn’t see them fulfill their potential.
“A lot of matric learners were reliant on sports, because for some it could have brought a potential bursary for tertiary education.”
Komani’s Queen’s College will be going through their paces this week while adhering to the regulations.
“We are guided by the Department of Education,” first team head coach Lamla Maneli said. “All government regulations will be followed as we prepare to resume on-field training this week, with these uncertain times, preparation for the worst-case scenario will be crucial.
“As a school we are ensuring that all our boys are well prepared for the upcoming sporting programmes, mindful of the fact that anything is possible.
“Our boys are excited, eager, and hungry for any form of participation.”
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