2 December 2014
Portia Modise is the first African player to reach the elusive 100-goal mark in international football; the Banyana Banyana striker was named the 2014 South Africa Sports Star of the Year at the South African Sports Awards.
The nation’s sporting royalty came out to celebrate excellence in the various sporting codes at the awards, handed out at the Sandton Convention Centre, in Johannesburg, on Sunday.
“To all our athletes, I want to say to you that this is your occasion. Never again will our athletes go around not [being] recognised for all they put in for this country,” said Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula. The awards were hosted by the Department of Sport and Recreation.
“Today we will honour our pride and our heritage of the South African sporting [fraternity] for what they have achieved throughout the year and we will equally remember those who passed on,” Mbalula said at the event, held on Sunday evening.
They would not be forgotten for having made the country proud. He was referring to the deaths in October of world champion middle distance runner Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, Bafana Bafana captain and goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa, and boxer Phindile Mwelase.
Mbalula also spoke about women in sport, saying to applause: “May this night usher in a new era in sport for women. Women in sport have never been recognised. All women [participate] in amateur sport; there’s no premier league of women, except for the Netball Premier League.”
There were over 12 categories of awards on Sunday night ranging from Sportswoman and man of the Year to Coach of the Year and Sportswoman and man of the Year with a Disability, as well as Federation of the Year.
Coach of the Year went to Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba, who was appointed to the top post in July. His award came as South Africa thrashed Ivory Coast 2-0 at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, on Sunday afternoon.
“To South Africans, we didn’t only see your support, we felt it,” Mashaba said, also thanking his family.
Sportsman of the Year was swimmer Chad le Clos, who was not at the event to collect his award, while Sportswoman of the Year was cyclist Ashleigh Moolman Pasio. Sportswoman of the Year with a Disability was Paralympic hand-cyclist Justine Asher, while Sportsman of the Year with a Disability was wheelchair racer and hand-cyclist Ernst Francois Van Dyk.
Cricketer AB De Villiers received an excellence award. Former Springbok Joost van der Westhuizen, who suffers from motor neuron disease, was also honoured.
Western Cape’s minister of cultural affairs and sport, Nomafrench Mbombo, said: “The crucial role that sport plays in our communities is undeniable. It is through the different sport codes that thousands of young people are kept occupied, healthy and away from harmful behaviours.”
Youth Olympics gold medallist Gezelle Magermann was named Newcomer of the Year. She won South Africa’s first medal of the Youth Olympic Games in August in Nanjing, China, taking gold in the women’s 400m hurdles. The Oudtshoorn School of Skills was named Developing School Team of the Year. Van Dyk, Magermann and the school are all in Western Cape.
“Exceptional milestones like this one mean that young people have local sporting role models to look up to,” said Mbombo.
SAinfo reporter and SANews