All eyes on sports minister as Sascoc invites other sports to apply for African Games

Acting sports minister Thoko Didiza.
Acting sports minister Thoko Didiza.
Image: Gallo Images / Beeld / Deon Raath

The SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) has officially invited all other sports bodies to follow soccer’s lead and ask the Sport minister for permission to compete at the African Games in Morocco.

Acting sports minister Thoko Didiza this week instructed Sascoc to process the paperwork so the men’s under-20 and women’s teams could compete at the continental showpiece.

Sascoc‚ short of funds after the Lottery and government had tightened the purse strings‚ had limited selection to only 11 codes which offer qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

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Excluded sports had initially suggested they fund their own way‚ but Sascoc ruled against this arguing that selection would be determined by money‚ which would also be unfair.

But since the acting minister allowed the South African Football Association (Safa)‚ which is paying its own way‚ to go‚ Sascoc is offering the other federations a chance to do the same.

“This letter serves to inform you that‚ should you wish to‚ you are welcome to exercise your right to request for the same special dispensation from the minister‚” acting CEO Ravi Govender wrote in a letter addressed to federation presidents on Saturday afternoon.

“Please be informed that Sascoc will not be responsible for any costs of your participation in any manner whatsoever‚ should such ​dispensation be granted. Further‚ that your participation is subject to the African Games 2019 local organising committee permitting so.”

Several federations are believed to be attempting to get some of their athletes to Morocco for the August 16-30 event.

For some sports‚ which start this week‚ it is probably too late‚ but for quite a few which get under way only next week‚ like gymnastics‚ wrestling‚ shooting‚ karate‚ and chess‚ there is still a chance.

If Didiza is still feeling generous.

Meanwhile‚ SA won their first medal of the games on Saturday with judoka Michaela Whitebooi took silver in the -48kg category.

Whitebooi‚ who had won gold at the African championships in Cape Town earlier this year‚ was named as Team SA flag-bearer for the opening ceremony on Monday. ​

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