Another global tournament, another humiliating early exist from South Africa as the Proteas once again succumbed to pressure and played far below their usually high standards. But fear not; this will not be an exploration of that crushing defeat to India but rather a viable solution to any athlete or team struggling with the vice grip of pressure.
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All records are made to be broken but some are just never expected to do so. One of those was Michael Johnson's 43.18 set in the 400m in 1999. However, at the Olympic Games in Rio last year, Wayde van Niekerk smashed it out the park with a mind blowing 43.03. The women behind his success, "Tannie Ans" Botha, speaks to CONQA on how that record has changed their relationship, how the pair are striving for more success and what it would take to join the pantheon of greats who claim gold in both the 400m and 200m.
The South African Blitzboks need at least a Cup quarterfinal appearance in each of their remaining two tournaments to be crowned champions of the 2016-17 World Rugby Sevens Series. However, such premature talks of titles can prove derailing and in an exlusive interview with CONQA, coach Neil Powell explains how his team is maintaining their focus.
Two giants of world sport have recently felt the painful bump of reaching bedrock and now have to make some dramatic changes if they want to taste the glories of the past. South African rugby and Australian cricket sides used to command respect from opposition by virtue of their dominance. Today they are both facing unprecedented crises. CONQA Sport offers a way out for both of these once proud juggernauts.
In a somewhat unprecedented move, this summer’s South African. domestic T20 competition will go ahead without a title sponsor – unless something drastically changes in the next few weeks. This sheds some light on cricket’s relevance and the country’s economic climate, but that does not mean all hope is lost. Antoinette Muller from the Daily Maverick explores this thorny issue which can be viewed as a microcosm of the broader financial narrative in the nation in particular, and the globe in general.
Change takes time, and more often than not is a difficult and arduous process. In the realm of elite sport, a ruthless industry to begin with, change often means sacrificing results in order to change course and head in a new direction. For the Springboks, South Africa’s proud national rugby team, a change in identity has coincided with a dramatic downturn in performances. Naturally, the media and public are up in arms, but should they be showing a touch more patience and understanding? CONQA Sport unpacks this rebuilding phase that South African rugby is going through and offers a sympathetic and measured view on the situation.
It is hard to disagree that South African sport has failed to transform at the top level, butcricket’s political association in South Africa stretches way further back than apartheid. Daily Maverick’s Antoinette Muller and Chronicle’s Leila Dee Dougan visited the heartlands of black cricket in South Africa to explore why cricket and politics will always be bedfellows; the work being done by CSA at grassroots, and how high performance and transformation go hand in hand.
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary and Thesaurus, an ‘expert’ is defined as someone “having or showing special skill or knowledge because of what you have been taught or what you have experienced.” Elite sport is littered with experts, and countless others who fancy themselves as one. With all that expertise floating around, coaches and managers are often tempted to bring in an external source of knowledge to improve their athletes’ performance. But is this necessary? What if a shift in mindset turned the focus inward and tapped into the wealth of internal knowledge within the playing group? CONQA Sport speaks with Paddy Upton and discovers that the solution to the problem is often right under your nose.
Coaches need to have the right mix of skills in order to be successful. They need a combination of technical and tactical ability, mixed in with a mental fortitude and resilience to cope with the trials and demands of elite sport. But how can an organisation ensure that the right coach is placed at the head of the right team? What are the different challenges that a junior development coach faces compared to the head coach of a national team? Cricket South Africa have a carefully crafted method when it comes to coaching development and placement which ensures the Proteas remain a world class side.
Like a family member or loved one, our favourite athletes and teams reach into our hearts and souls and pull on certain strings that compel us to be biased. We can’t help it. There’s nothing we can do. Our athletes and teams are just and virtuous, and exempt from derision, while the opposition is the antithesis: deceitful, unsportsmanlike, unworthy of praise or achievement. The subjective nature of sport creates an environment where the same action or behaviour can yield very different responses depending on which side of the fence you sit.
Sport is a business, so the old saying goes, and subsequently those involved, including coaches and athletes, are business men and women. That might not appeal to the idealistic notions surrounding the games we love, but to look squarely at the truth, cold hard cash still runs the show. Eddie Jones came and left Cape Town like a tourist, and while it is easy to lambast him for being greedy, it was a sound business decision. Perhaps it tells us something about where coaches value the international game, compared to franchise competitions.
Athletes are more than just individuals who have forged a profession in a field they love, they are ambassadors of a nation and carry the hopes and dreams of millions. You would think governing bodies would do all they can to help them. You'd be wrong. Sunette Viljoen, the South African javelin thrower who recently won a bronze medal at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Athletics Championship, has spoken out about how the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee ( SASCOC) treats the athletes who are part of their Operation Excellence (OPEX) programme. One can only hope that she will be the first of many.
Pitso Mosimane is one of South Africa’s longest serving and most decorated managers. He has managed some of the top clubs in the country and was appointed head coach of the national side after the 2010 World Cup. He sat down with CONQA Sport to discuss the cultural nuances that come with managing a club versus managing a nation.
What is choking and how can it be fixed? Tim Goodenough,on his three steps to finding a solution, and the Proteas chances at the upcoming World Cup.