It was a “Red-Letter Day for Volleyball South Africa (VSA) when the newly appointed Minister of Sport and Recreation, the Honourable Thembelani “Thulas” Nxesi announced during his maiden budget speech in parliament on Friday, 26 May that volleyball has being declared as the country’s “Sport of the Year”, 2017.
According to VSA Vice President, Kriba Reddy netball, basketball and hockey were the previous recipients of the national accolade that recognises good governance and transformation at all levels of the code of sport.
“Arising out of the Sports Indaba in 2011 the Government’s White Paper on Sport identified sixteen (16) priority codes of sport which excluded the so called ” television sports ” rugby, soccer and cricket that have a huge following in our country. The White paper also spoke to the establishment of sport focused schools which included academies in each province. With volleyball making it onto the priority list it was a matter of time before Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) gave our sport the nod to be the recipient of their assistance valued at R30 million Rands over a three year period,” Reddy said.
“Through their funding policy the Government’s plan is to increase the profile of the code chosen as the “Sport of the Year” whereby R10 million Rands will be used each year, to run a semi professional league that will get television coverage and hopefully attract corporate sponsorship to continue the process that SRSA started after the end of three year period. SRSA will foot the bill for transport, accommodation, meals and stipend for the nine provincial men and women’s indoor and beach volleyball teams,” elaborated Reddy.
To fast track the process VSA President, Anthony Mokoena and Secretary General Michael Makhubela engaged in several discussions with SRSA Director General (DG) Alec Moemi on the logistics of running the provincial based semi professional league. They agreed, inter alia, that the league will be run over a six week period from October to November this year in Kwa Zulu Natal.
Mokoena went on to say that the establishment of sport focused schools as stated in the Government’s White Paper will greatly benefit the sport as they will become a nursery for the provincial teams. He pointed out that the Western Cape Sport focused school for volleyball in Kuils River in Cape Town is a case in point.