Forget quotas in national teams, Connect is committed to sporting transformation where it’s needed most: at grassroots level.


Acknowledging there is no quick fix to achieve comprehensive transformation Connect is a truly hands-on initiative, working directly with the Khayelitsha community and beyond to provide access to opportunities and resources, inside and outside sport.

From most young people in our programme having never even touched a rugby ball a year or so ago, we now have over 80 regular participants, over 30 of whom have already progressed to elite age group rugby, from junior to senior level.

This is achieved though our dedicated training, nutritional and transport programmes. We also make a constant effort to know each of our players and their families – allowing us to understand each individual’s circumstances and the challenges they face to succeed.

Bongo Dyalivane may not be built like a rugby player, but he claims to have the speed of Bryan Habana. His love of the sport isn’t the only thing pushing this 9-year-old boy to succeed.

Dyalivane is a member of the Connect Sports Academy.


Youth aged between 6 and 18 are taught the basics through touch rugby, with practice sessions taking place every afternoon.

“The next Springbok can come from this field,” co-director and coach Yanga Qinga believes

“This programme has shown that township kids can hold their own against any opposition. Transformation doesn’t start in team selection. It starts at grassroots level.”

Those that earn their place in our elite system benefit from our relationships with other academies and schools, giving them a consistent platform to make the most of their talent. Wherever they play, Connect will provide the support they need all the way.

“Twenty years after democracy, the demographic trend in our national team hasn’t seen significant change.

“Rugby is not a white sport, just like soccer isn’t a black sport. But township children’s exposure to rugby has been extremely limited. This needs to be fixed.”

In the 2 years since its inception, the programme has grown to more than just a sports organisation.

“It’s a sad reality that before taking up the sport, most of these children have never been outside this community,” Qinga said.

“Through sport, they are going places – literally. They love taking part in away games as they get to see the rest of the city and meet new people.”

Team captain Sidisa Dekeda, 14, dreams of moving to Camps Bay one day.

“And I will,” he said confidently. “I am practicing hard and eventually I will be the best at my position. Our coach keeps reminding us our dedication will pay off.”

This is an authentic attempt to not only create top sports players, but to provide a pathway for young coaches and administrators to develop, thrive and share their growing skills within the community they call home.

For more info about this incredible initiative, click here.

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Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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