Springboks victory set to ignite SA Sports Awards this weekend
The 2019 SA Sports Awards are taking place on Sunday, and their organisers could not have asked for better in terms of timing, with the euphoria around the Springboks sure to upgrade interest around their event a thousand fold.
Two of the team's icons, captain Siya Kolisi and coach Rassie Erasmus, both scored nominations, and according to Marketing and Communications Chief Director at the department of sport and recreation, Mickey Modisane, the line-up of contenders could not be more "international".
"The nominations were always going to be of interest to South Africans, but the likes of Siya Kolisi, Rassie Erasmus, Percy Tau, Thembi Kgatlana and Comrades [Marathon] champion Gerda Steyn are sports personalities on international platforms. We have set the bar at a high level this time around. We have worthy contenders," Modisane said.
"It is also the very first time that we have three women vying for the Sports Star of the year category - in swimming star Tatjana Schumacher, Banyana Banyana and scorer of SA's first goal at the World Cup Thembi Kgatlana as well as Karla Pretorius, who was named Player of the Tournament at the Netball World Cup earlier this year. It is all well-deserved."
To Modisane, it has been a year of the woman, who pepper categories normally dominated by their male counterparts, including the People's Choice of the Year award where Kgatlana, Steyn and inspirational netball captain Bongiwe Msomi have been nominated alongside Tau and Kolisi, and the Newcomer of the Year category, with swimmer Dunè Coetzee and cricketer Tumi Sikhukhune fighting it out with Michael Houlie.
While all the nominees are outstanding, it has been netball, and the organisation that controls it - Netball South Africa - that has been a revelation of late. The game has surged to prominence, and prior to the Boks' extraordinary World Cup feat, it was netball that had provided some happiness in a dire year for sporting achievement, due to their semifinal appearance at their World Cup earlier this year.
The association's president Cecilia Molokwane is in the running for the Administrator of the Year award, alongside hockey's Gary Dooley and Tennis SA CEO Richard Glover.
"It is such a blessing. It has not been easy, but the nominations show how far we have come and the adversity along the way. Six nominations is quite a feat and I am very proud of Karla and Bongiwe. Speaking of my own nomination, I have to say this does not often happen for a woman and I am honoured," Molokwane said.