Let’s make sports work for the youth of Seychelles |26 August 2020
There has been a lot of talk recently about opportunities for the youth, while one lies right under our noses.
We have a great sport facility in Roche Caïman. However, are we optimising these facilities for the benefit of youth? Is it time for reform in our sport and education?
Most sports have been transferred to associations to run. The associations are run by persons who though excellent at the sport suffer from lack of knowledge and professionalism in administering the sport.
- Lack of goals, progression and monitoring
The organisations suffer from a lack of goals, objectives, milestones and monitoring.
- Lack of knowledge in marketing
A lack of knowledge in marketing – Product, pricing and promotion results in sub-optimal participation.
- Poor administration and record keeping
Further, poor administration, collection, recording and proper up to date records impact the cash flows and an ability to afford proper coaching.
- Loss of sustainable sponsorship opportunities
Lack of proper records, proper packages for sponsors, sponsor management, proper records results in losing out on sponsorship opportunities.
All in all the sport suffers. Instead of sports making us happy, it is flagged by internal politics, obstruction and the youth lose out. The objectives of the persons heading the association are often not aligned with those of the sport or members.
What can we do better? The National Sports Council (NSC) can hold workshops to teach the associations to:
- Set goals
Set common goals, roadmaps and clear milestones based on which they will be benchmarked. The milestones should be clear, simple and quantitative – Run 5 sports programmes for schools, initiate 50 new members.
- Proper administration
Teach the association how to run efficiently, advise them on the laws within which they have to operate, how to market and promote and ensure transparent operations.
- Proper constitutions in line with the times
Proper constitutions revised in line with the current times which promote checks and balances, prevent abuse of power, limitation on tenure ship, participation by parents, teachers, coaches, etc.
- Reporting and accountability
Explain to office bearers that they are accountable to their members, the public and need to constantly and consistently deliver.
Politics and hidden/personal agendas should be kept aside. This destroys the sport and the youth lose out. They need to work in an inclusive manner to achieve common goals – Collaborate vis-à-vis compete and obstruct.
- Record keeping and transparency
Proper record keeping and books which are regularly published and available in line with the access to information law.
- Empower coaches
Coaches are skilled at their sport. Empower and facilitate them to make programmes, etc.
- Collaboration and cohesion
Work in a cohesive manner with government, international federations to upgrade facilities.
We should also look at including more sports in our education system; giving kids the opportunity to participate in many sports. We have the facilities. Every school should have volleyball, basketball, football, cricket, tennis, gymnastics, athletics, swimming, martial arts, etc as part of their programme.
A few years ago NSC ran an Olympic holiday club. Kids participated in various sports for two weeks. This was an amazing club and more like this should be organised and actively promoted.
A recent two-week tennis holiday camp by the Seychelles Tennis Association (STA) had an overwhelming response – 80+ children mostly in the age group 4-12 years old. More initiatives like this should be organised.
Besides helping the associations balance their budget they encourage participation in sport.
Some associations/clubs like Northern Tang Soo Do are run very efficiently, by passionate and disciplined instructors and skilled administrators. We admire their dedication. However, they suffer from a lack of a dedicated space in which to run their programmes which leads to disruptions.
One of our greatest statesmen, Nelson Mandela, used sport to revive and unite a nation.
An excerpt from a speech by Nelson Mandela in 2005 states as follows:
“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair.”
We need to ensure we reform our sport to benefit the youth. We have the infrastructure. We need to optimise its use.
It gives the youth direction and helps prevent growing problems in our society like obesity, substance abuse and mental health issues. It cuts across multiple ministries – health, youth, education, family affairs.
It’s time for action, not just talk.
The youth of Seychelles are depending on us to do the right thing and make sports work for everyone.