Thursday 26 June 2014

The Murray & Roberts 2014 Jack Cheetham and Letsema Awards

The call for nominations is now open.

Since 1981, Murray & Roberts has been making a difference by rewarding and recognising projects that contribute to the development of sport in South Africa.

Sport has the ability to transform the lives of many young South Africans. Previous beneficiaries of the awards include Sizwe Ndlovu, a member of the South African lightweight fours Olympic rowing team, who was one of the first successes to emerge from Rowing South Africa’s schools transformation programme. Rowing South Africa won the 2002 Jack Cheetham Award.

The Jack Cheetham Award targets sports development projects for able-bodied individuals or teams that have the potential to be champions.

The Jack Cheetham Award was initiated by Murray & Roberts 33 years ago, in conjunction with the Johannesburg Sportsman’s Club and in recognition of the special qualities of Jack Cheetham, a former director of the company and the inspirational captain of the South African cricket team in the 1950s who was able to instill in young people the belief that they could win.

Bethelsdorp Wrestling Academy, a programme to uplift children from disadvantaged communities in Port Elizabeth and winners of the 2013 Jack Cheetham Award, took home seven gold medals, six silver medals and one bronze medal at the South African Regional Championships in September 2013.

The Letsema Award, instituted in 2009 following the outstanding performance of Hilton Langenhoven at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing, recognises sports development projects for people with disabilities.

Mandeville Aquatics Disability Centre of Excellence, winners of the 2013 Letsema Award focuses on the development of swimming in Central Gauteng’s disabled and previously disadvantaged communities and develops them to a level where they can compete successfully at a National and Paralympics level.

Murray & Roberts undertakes the awards in partnership with the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC).

Ø To be eligible for nomination, a sports project must demonstrate a meaningful contribution to the development of sport in South Africa and it must benefit previously disadvantaged individuals.

Ø Nominations in all sporting codes are considered but preference is given to sporting codes that do not attract high levels of funding.

Ø Projects that have previously been receipients of either award may only be nominated again in the year after they receive their final payments.

Nominations should be sent to:

Email: or

Fax: 086 662 6003 or 086 607 5547

Reference: JC Award for Jack Cheetham Award nominations

LA Award for Letsema Award nominations

Enquiries: 011 456 011 456 1587.

Closing date for nominations is 31 July 2014.

Saturday 14 June 2014

Fear in South African gaming

Over the past few weeks there has laughably been a fairly vitriolic criticism of the
MSSA and the awarding of both female and male gamers medals and of choosing males and females for its national teams.

Of course most of the MSSA's critics quickly ignore the fact that the choice of game titles for the 6th World Championships Baku, as well as who may, and for that matter, who may not, play is decided upon not by the MSSA, but by the IeSF.

Apart from a small minority of female gamers who have expressed their apparent unhappiness over the division of the team along gender lines, the majority of criticism has come from very vocal male gamers. A number of these gamers have stated that they speak for the female gamers (I wonder if they really do), and have made their point that female and male leagues are not to be tolerated!

My friends and I have read much of what has been written on the subject.

It is interesting to see that most of the top female games in international competition, acknowledge the female only leagues as a reason for their success.

But why are male gamers so anti having female gamers play their own leagues?

A number of theories could be put forward, but it is thought that the main reasons could really be:
  1. That male gamers are afraid that a more nurturing environment for female gamers will fast-track female gamers so that they can rival male gamers, and
  2. That male gamers are afraid that if female gamers do have their own leagues and competitions, that the prize money pool will be halved to accommodate female gamers.
Both the above are based on fear, and with fear being one of the most basic of human emotions, it is no wonder why most of the gamers are so subjective on this matter.

It again comes down to seeing the big picture. What do you really want to get out of eSports?

If you feel that eSports is something that you must control, that eSports owes you a living, or that you are entitled to prize money, then you will experience anxiety when new ideas are expressed or when new projects are put into place. It is this feeling of lack of control that makes the subject so emotive among those who are outside of the decision making arena.

However, if you are one of themany that are looking at the big picture of where eSports can go, what eSports can do for those who play, or of the opportunities that eSports can create, then you will realise that the policy of having separate championships for males and females has much to offer.

Let us look at it from a South African point of view. Mixed gaming delivers one winner, one second place, and one third place. On the other hand, separating the competition delivers two winners, two second places, and two third places. This means that you are rewarding twice as many people and you are creating an environment that is far more conducive to growth and development.

Not only that, but if the MSSA awards Protea Colours to one team, then only that team will be able to apply for a sports bursary should the team members go to university. However, should a female team and a male team be awarded Protea Colours, then twice the number of gamers are able to apply for sports bursaries.

Who in their right mind would not want to see as many people as possible benefit from eSports?

Surely only gamers who want to privatise gaming for their own nefarious purposes would be opposed to seeing as many people as possible benefit?

Yes, eSports is still in its early stages of development. Total equality cannot be achieved immediately as financial considerations will always have a bearing on all decisions made, but the process has started.

The process will gain momentum from year-to-year.

One only has to look at how few females participated in the 2012 IeSF World Championships, as compared to the increase in numbers (and standard) at the 2013 IeSF World Championships.

Of course, gaming may even end up like a sport like tennis where there are female, male, and mixed events! Only time will tell.

At the end of the day, every person has the right of freedom of association.

Therefore those who want to be associated to a progressive process can be. Those who do not want to associate to a progressive process can leave it alone.

However, all people deserve to be respected for their own choices, so those who do not agree should show a modicum of courtesy and refrain from harassing those that are making eSports a better place for all.

(Picture taken from the MSSA's facebook page:

Monday 9 June 2014

Official Announcement for 6th e-Sports World Championship BAKU 2014

According to the MSSA, the IeSF has now finalized the Official game titles, Participation conditions, Prize pool and Uniform Regulations for the 6th e-Sports World Championship BAKU 2014, which are follows,

1. Additional Game Titles:
- The host country, Azerbaijan, recommended 2 additional game titles as is their right, which are follows:
1) ULTRA STREET FIGHTER IV (CAPCOM) – Male Competition / Individual Match
2) HEARTHSTONE (BLIZZARD) – Male Competition / Individual Match

- Thus the official game titles for the 6th e-Sports World Championship BAKU 2014 are as follows:

1) Male Division

a. DOTA 2 (Team Match)
b. STARCRAFT II (Individual Match)
c. ULTRA STREET FIGHTER IV (Individual Match)
d. HEARTHSTONE (Individual Match)

2. Prize Pool
- The Board of IeSF decided the total Prize Pool for 6th e-Sports World Championship BAKU 2014 as $ 100,000 USD, which is the biggest size of IeSF’s history ever.
- The Prize Pool is divided into two categories: Winning Nations by Overall Performance and Winners by each game title
- All Categories of Prize will be distributed to the related Member National Federation, and the such National Federation can distribute the Prize to the related players in accordance with the contract between NF and the Player.
- For more details of Prize Distribution, please see below table:

1) Category for Winners by Each Game Title







































Overall Performance






 $100,000 USD

This means that the MWEB Protea Team will have not only national honour for which to play, bt cold hard cash as well!

It will indeed be interesting to see if the Protea Team is up to the task.

Sunday 1 June 2014

Coaches essential to the growth of eSports

There is no doubt that for a game to grow, there must be a general groundswell of interest in the game if it is to develop as a sport.

But, is that enough?

I mean, just because there are people who are interested in playing the game, does that mean that the game will develop as a sport?

No, not at all!

The initial interest in the game being played, may be just a fad, or remain as just a game being played on a recreational level without ever moving upwards to become a truly competitive sport.

Of course there are many who are content with games just being around as a recreation, but there are those who want to see games played on a more competitive level, and who want to push themselves to the nth degree to demonstrate their mastery over the game.

So what is the catalyst to make games into a sport?

The way that I see it, gaming is no different from the traditional sports.

For many years the traditional sports were played on a truly amateur basis, but the sports grew from strength to strength even without huge injections of money.

So what then created the impetus for growth?

The way I see it is that it was the coaches who provided the impetus. Sport is in many ways no different from the automobile industry..

In the automobile industry, the manufacturer makes the product, and then advertises the product in the attempt to enable sales.

The dealer then sells the car, and sometimes very aggressively, as it is in the dealers interest to make sure that the brand is protected and that events take place to further recruit customers.

So is it with sport!

The National Federation creates the environment that is conducive to growth. Through its dealings with government, accreditation of events, and selection of teams (to mention but a few), the National Federations take on the role as the manufacturer.

However, it is the coaches that take on the role of the 'dealer'.

The coach has a single-minded approach to the survival of the game as a sport. It is through the promotion of the game that the coach earns his/her living. It is in the pursuit of earning a living that the coach will attract more players to the game. It is through the coach's abilities that players will improve and thus make a name for the coach.

Thus is eSports is to truly become a sustainable sport in South Africa, their has to be the development of professional coaching!

Gone are the days of coaching being done on a ad hocnature with advice being freely given.
Coaching must be professional, and gamers must be prepared to pay for it!

When South Africa has professional coaches in South Africa, I guarantee that there will be a remarkable improvement in the average standard of play.

Then you will see foreign players queuing up to play in the MSSA's MWEB Provincial and National Championships.