SOUTH African rugby union captain Siya Kolisi has established the first Red Bull Roots rugby clinic for young female and male rugby players in order to upskill and empower them.
The legendary South Africa skipper on Tuesday said investing in the youth of South Africa through rugby is one of the reasons he established the Kolisi Foundation, which is committed to tackling the challenge of inequality in the global game.
The Red Bull Roots – a multi-year partnership with the Kolisi Foundation is a way to give back to the sport he loves, the Springboks captain added.
The first clinic held at the Kings Park stadium in Durban saw some young rising female and male talents from around Kwa-Zulu Natal go through a day of motivation and inspiration, which included wisdom from the likes of Kolisi, Babalwa Latsha, Sikhumbuzo Notshe and James Venter.
The 30-year-old, who also plays for the Sharks, explained: “Red Bull Roots and the one-day clinic is all about going back to where it all started for me – grassroots rugby. It’s important to me to be giving back and making sure that we’re creating opportunities for young people. I strongly believe that representation is everything and that in shared leadership we can accomplish anything. The more people have access to rugby, the bigger the pool of talent that you can work from. The sport isn’t just about ‘making it’, it also teaches values like discipline and accountability.”
Female representation within rugby is equally important with young women like Latsha able to strive and reach the inspirational heights that Kolisi achieved with the 2019 World Cup-winning team.
The 28-year-old revealed: “This project is all about us passing on core memories and skills; the belief that in the fact that we can have another Babalwa Latsha or Siya Kolisi in the near future. This type of project is very close to my heart because, I, like them, was a youngster who was from the township and found the sport of rugby. The sport has opened so many doors for me and gave me the opportunity of being the first-ever woman in Africa to play professional rugby overseas.”
The Kolisi foundation has shared its vision to construct a state-of-the-art sports complex soon in Kolisi’s hometown of Zwide in the Eastern Cape.
“I hope this sports centre will bridge the gap in terms of unearthing and developing talent. I think the challenge is the resources and communities investing in grassroots sports.” Kolisi said of the plan.
Rugby is a big sport in South Africa who are currently the world champions having defeated England in the 2019 tournament final.