Okay, look, I need to get something out of the way early on: I have nothing against the SA Sport Awards, but I have EVERYTHING against the R65-million pricetag. (Read this excellent piece by Lungani Zama for my sentiments on this manner.)
Surely, surely, if government can come up with R21-million of its own money (a confirmed figure, by the way) then there is no need for so many of our sports bodies to be as cash-strapped as they are. Add to this the R44-million in sponsorships that the Sports and Rec department was able to secure, and you have enough money to turn our already impressive on-field performances into something quite spectacular. This is just too much money on one night considering the needs of so many sporting codes across the country. Minister Fikile “Razzmatazz” Mbalula needs to think about this long as hard…
Maybe that’s why I didn’t watch the awards. I followed the results, but nothing more than that. And two of those results really made me angry.
Firstly — and I guess I’m going to piss off some of my fellow Kaizer Chiefs fans here — there is simply no way that Itumeleng Khune should have been named Sports Star of the Year. If we’re totally honest, I’m not even sure he is SA’s footballer of the year (Senzo Meyiwa’s exploits for CAF Champions League finalists Orlando Pirates were possibly worthy of higher honour). Yes, Khune did captain a greatly improved Bafana team and led Chiefs to an impressive PSL title. But better than Chad le Clos? Surely not.
Le Clos is the best sportsman in his event in the world. He’s just won the Fina World Cup. He beat Michael Phelps at the Olympics. He’s smashing world records for fun. He’s picked up gold medal after gold medal. He has got to be the real sports star of the year. Surely.
[Kate Nokwe tells me Khune won based on popularity. Fair enough. But is a popularity contest the way to name your sports star of the year? I think not. Sports personally of the year, maybe. Sports star should be based on performance, I believe.]
Secondly, I fail to understand how Swimming SA can be named the Federation of the Year. This is the federation that gave us green swimming pools for a national championship, for crying out loud! And they couldn’t even pay for swimmers to go Barcelona for the FINA World Championships (thankfully SASCOC came to the rescue). And Swim SA CEO Shaun Adriaanse has also warned of a bleak 2016 Olympics if the federation can’t find a new sponsor.
So what did I think about the SA Sport Awards? Honestly, I don’t know if I can take them seriously. Too much wasted expense. And I’m not sure the right people won.
Maybe next year common-sporting-and-financial-sense will prevail.
THE LIST OF THE WINNERS:
– Administrator of the year: Mimi Mthethwa
– Sportsman of the Year: Cameron Van Der Burgh
– Sportsman Of The Year With Disability: Lucas Sithole
– Sportswoman Of The Year: Mapaseka Makhanya
– Sportswoman Of The Year With Disability: Kgothatso Montjane
– Team Of The Year: The Proteas
– Newcomer Of The Year: Thato Tsomole
– Coach Of The Year: Holger Losch
– Volunteer Of The Year: Zakes Mkhize
– Indigenous Games Of The Year: Simphiwe Maphumulo
– Photographer Of The Year: Wessel Oosthuizen
– Journalist Of The Year: Ramatsiyi Moholoa
– School Team Of The Year: Sol Plaatjie Sol Plaatje High School
– Developing School Team of The Year: Daniye Primary School
– Federation Of The Year: Cycling SA, SA Hockey and Swimming SA.
– Recreational Bodies: 702 Walk The Talk
– Steve Tshwete Lifetime Achievement Award: Hajera Kajee, Mvuzo Mbebe, Kaizer Motaung, Leepile Taunyane and Betty Magwaza.
– Sports Star Of The Year: Itumeleng Khune