2012 a year full of promise for Mzansi

THE chapter is closed on 2011, and 2012 promises to be a very special one for athletes from South Africa and the rest of the world.

This is the year when the world's best will get to mount the Olympic podium to the strains of their national anthems, with flags flying high.

We are fully aware that 2011 has been unfriendly to us as we failed to defend rugby's Webb Ellis trophy in New Zealand and we failed to use our pole position in cricket to bring home the ICC World Cup.

We are pleased that the Singapore Championships nearly gave us that converted world trophy with the netball team and elevated us to the top spot in Africa.

Bafana Bafana are not going to participate in this year's Afcon. Yes, 2011 is gone and we can't cry over spilt milk. Let's design and shape the new year.

We had fantastic support from everybody, especially with the Magnificent Fridays campaign. We truly are Nelson Mandela's children, united in diversity.

This year there's a lot at stake for our beautiful South Africa. This is a year of the Olympics, with a lot having been said about the country's participation in the global event.

The number 12 apparently has meaning biblically, in the ANC and now in sport.

Jesus Christ had 12 disciples, the ANC had 12 presidents, and we are expecting 12 Olympic medals.

The number 12 is therefore significant today.

In football, this is a number that was made famous by the likes of the late Orlando Pirates midfield genius, Ernest "Botsotso" Makhanya, Moroka Swallows' famous attacking midfielder Steve Sekano and Kaizer Chiefs's current assistant coach Donald "Ace" Khuse. This year we are reliving the memory of those who came and shaped the world. Yes, indeed, happy birthday to the ANC on reaching new heights.

The school sport programme will also be central for us this year.

We will be revealing all the plans regarding the implementation of this giant programme this month, which will help in sports development, talent identification and preparation for high performance for a greater South African future.

We will this year again pay attention to all codes that are not really doing well.

The infighting in some of these codes has not promoted sport well. We really have to pull up our socks and rise above petty squabbles, not in the interest of sport but individuals.

This is a year to build sport for the future.

The Sports Indaba has come and gone in 2011, but there are still some issues that need to be finalised .

The most important ones include the Transformation Charter and its scorecard and monitoring structure to help make our administrators accountable and take responsibility for their actions.

South Africa is not going to be playing hide and seek, on the subject of transformation.

We need that South Africa of the likes of Brian Mitchell, Dingaan Thobela, Jacob Matlala, Ditau Molefyane, Nika Khumalo, Pierre Coetzer, Johnny du Plooy, etc.

To the media, you have been the pillar of strength for our sport, and we wish you more strength this year.

On behalf of the ministry and department of sport and recreation, we wish you all a better 2012.

  • Fikile Mbalula is Sports and Recreation Minister

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