Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
1 minute read
7 May 2014
8:00 am

Sascoc honours struggle heroes

Wesley Botton

South Africa's Olympic governing body has paid tribute to a long list of people who played significant roles in the fight for unity in sport, but 22 years since readmission, Sascoc admits the country has not yet reached its full potential.

FILE PICTURE: Danny Jordaan during the FIFA press conference held at SAFA House, Nasrec on March 14, 2011 in Johannesburg, South Africa (Photo by Duif du Toit/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

The 69 recipients were awarded at a gala dinner hosted by Sascoc in Johannesburg on Monday night. They included SA Football Association (Safa) president Danny Jordaan, SA Rugby Union (Saru) vice-president Mark Alexander, International Executive Committee (IOC) member Sam Ramsamy, former Proteas bowling coach Vincent Barnes and former Bafana Bafana mentor Shakes Mashaba.

“The main purpose of this prestigious event was to celebrate the forgotten heroes and heroines who exhibited fighting spirit during the days of struggle in South Africa and how the sports movement has emerged after re-acceptance into the international sports scene,” Sascoc said in a statement.

“In addition, the gala dinner also highlighted the significant role that sport played in uniting the nation. ”

While the Springboks have twice won the Rugby World Cup and the SA team has earned 25 Olympic medals since readmission, Bafana Bafana have failed to qualify for three World Cup tournaments.

Following the recent pilot study released by the Eminent Persons Group on Transformation, which highlighted the need to expand the nation’s talent pool, Sascoc believed the country had performed admirably at international level, but confirmed a lack of transformation still created a stumbling block.

“While the phrase ‘no normal sport in an abnormal society’ was a common one in the struggle, the country has since emerged as a fast developing, well performing and globally recognised nation.”