March 1, 2024

Player Nation unites communities through sport in the Karoo

CAPE TOWN – Following the success of the winter games in July this year, Player Nation yet again brought another wave of excitement to the Karoo this week.

School learners, communities and surroundings were looking forward to the unforgettable experience. The two-day event provided not only fun to sport enthusiasts but also relaxation for residents and school learners in the Karoo, offering a much-needed opportunity to unwind after long exams.

The winter holiday sports programme attracted more than 1000 young people, boys and girls from
Somerset-East, Cookhouse, Bedford, and Adelaide communities.

The programme, featuring rugby, soccer, netball, and indigenous games, surpassed expectations and set the stage for a comprehensive rollout.

“PlayerNation is all about showing the incredible impact that sports can have on our young people, shaping their future in ways beyond imagination. We are thrilled to bring this amazing wave of excitement to the Karoo with our upcoming summer athletics games,” said John O’Connor, CEO of Arch Group Holdings, company for the Institute of Sport.

“The games are not just about competition; they are about empowering youth through sports excellence. We are inviting all communities in the Karoo and surroundings to join us in this thrilling two-day event.”

The two-day event took place at Bedford, Eastern Cape and attracted an overwhelming participation of young people who are eager to engage in a day filled with fun, and the joy of sports.

“This unique platform provides young athletes with the opportunity to showcase their skills, promote active living, and foster a sense of pride in their accomplishments. We can’t wait to welcome the scores of talented individuals who will contribute to the vibrant sports community that we are building,” he said.

Player Nation, is an initiative developed by the Institute of Sport partnering with Exxaro as the first
founder partner, through its renewable energy business Cennergi.

It was launched in May 2023, with a multifaceted approach encompassing sport, health, education, and skills development.

Player Nation, in partnership with the Department of Sport and the Department of Basic Education aims to become the ultimate school sports programme, impacting 28,000 schools nationwide.

Designed as a day out event in the Karoo this December, for young people, family and friends, the summer games focus on empowering youth through sports excellence, contributing to their physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

Cennergi’s Economic Development and Community Programmes Coordinator in Amakhala Emoyeni Windfarm, Simphiwe Mbenya, expressed the organisation’s pride in supporting the programme to create a lasting impact on South African schools and communities.

“PlayerNation goes beyond sculpting athletes; it’s about cultivating a new generation of champions and laying the foundation for a nationwide movement that extends beyond sports,” said Mbenya.

“At Cennergi, we believe in contributing to the communities that we serve, and partnering with Player Nation aligns with our commitment to holistic development. We are proud to support an initiative that creates a positive impact on the lives of young individuals.”

The summer athletics games featured various types of sports including, soccer, rugby and netball
and indigenous games.

Reflecting on the winter games, School Governing Body Chairperson for Templeton High School, Rudi Arends noted with satisfaction the remarkable transformation witnessed among school learners in the community.

He stated that the spark of interest in sports that ignited during the winter games has continued to grow.

“It’s heartening to see our learners eagerly anticipating future sports games with such enthusiasm,” he said.

“The excitement and impact of the winter games have not only lingered within the school but has extended beyond our school gates. It’s not just the learners who are enthusiastic; even parents have expressed their desire for these games.”

Arends concluded by urging both learners and the entire communities in the Karoo to come out in full support and embrace these summer games as an opportunity to connect, enjoy, and actively participate in promoting a healthy lifestyle.

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