The Confederations of Schools’ Sports Associations in Southern Africa (COSSASA) ball games have been cancelled following the associations failure to secure the games a host.
This follows the pullout of South Africa and, lately, Namibia from hosting the games.
This failure looks likely to intensify the already existing belief that the games are losing their spark.
This latest incident will come as more cause to worry about the future of Southern Africa’s school sports game, following the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Shaw Kgathi’s expression of worry about the dwindling number of participating countries when the country hosted COSSASA athletic games in April this year.
Speaking in an interview with Standard Sport, the Secretary of COSSASA, Mpholo Leoisa, said there is no chance of hosting the games this year as it is already too late to find a country to host them. He says trying to host the games even at a later stage this year will be foolhardy as it is almost examinations time for most student athletes.
Leoisa is of the belief that hosting the games will defeat the main duty of being a student athlete, which is to be a student first and an athlete second.
Commenting on the latest fiasco that caused the games to be abandoned, the COSSASA secretary says South Africa had to change their school calendars to accommodate the World Cup, which they hosted this year. This, he says hampered the country’s preparations to host or even participate in the games.
He informed Standard Sport that when South Africa was mandated with hosting the games, they did not indicate they would have a problem and this only came to the fore very late.
Leoisa says Namibia attempted to rescue the games but it was a little too late. He says while the Namibian School Sports Union was willing to host the games, the Namibian government rejected it as the bid was done at the last hour.
Leoisa says this is reasonable considering that Namibia is also hosting the primary schools sports games and hosting COSSASA at the eleventh hour would have been taxing.
However, going forward, the COSSASA Secretary informed Standard Sport that he is very optimistic that the games will continue again next year.
According to Leoisa, it is now time for COSSASA to sit down and map a way forward as well as to try root out problems facing the games. He says in view of the importance of the games in nurturing the region’s sporting talents; they now have to sit down with stakeholders, among them the Education departments as well as Ministries of Sports, Youth and Culture in the region to agree on the way forward for the games.
He further added that they will also have to sit down with member countries to try solve the problem of no show at the games as well to help them on issues of organising and running school sports events.
Leoisa says the games offer a platform for early talent development and their failure would make the region’s dream of winning on the international arena a pipedream.