The influence of sport serves a vital purpose in changing human lives, from a social, cognitive,
political, health and spiritual perspective. In addition, sport contributes to personal development,
fun and enjoyment and, achievement and contributes to ethical values (Lee, Whitehead,
Ntoumanis, & Hatzigeorgiadis, 2008).
Sport faces numerous challenges in South Africa. It is the purpose of this study to focus on
helping learners, coaches and administrators to develop talent from a young age and create
awareness of the application of nurturing athletes at an early age. The Department of Sport and
Recreation South Africa (SRSA) developed a key policy document (the National Sport and
Recreation Plan) (NSRP) that aims to transform sport and aligns with the National Development
Plan (NDP) that aims to revive physical education and sport in schools.
The significance of school sport as a vehicle for access and opportunity to an active lifestyle at
an early age, particularly in soccer, rugby and netball, is recognised by SRSA. The use and application of science in enhancing, identifying and channelling sporting talent at an
early age is prevalent (Côté, Lidor, Hackfort, Vaeyens, Güllich, Warr & Philippaerts, 2009).
Children learn a broad range of fundamental, emotional and physical skills that could contribute
to their later specialisation in a given sport.
Due to the lack of appropriate soccer, netball and rugby coaching knowledge and the seemingly
un-co-ordinated and ad hoc approach to talent detection, identification and development in these
sports in Mamelodi Primary Schools in Tshwane, it becomes difficult to institutionalise these
sporting codes optimally at school level.
The researcher argues that identifying these challenges it might contribute to facilitating the
desired enabling environment for sustainable talent detection, identification and development in
primary schools in Mamelodi, Tshwane.
Therefore, the research question proposed for this study is the following:
Why is soccer, netball and rugby talent not sustainably detected, identified and
developed at an early age among primary school learners in Mamelodi?
The overall aim of this study is to identify and describe challenges for sustainable talent
detection, identification and development in soccer, netball and rugby in Mamelodi Tshwane
In order to achieve the research aim, the following specific objectives are set for the selected
sporting codes (soccer, netball and rugby):
Establish key success factors for sustainable talent detection, identification and
development in selected sporting codes.
Perform a situation analysis of talent detection, identification and development systems in
selected sporting codes in Mamelodi Primary Schools.
Identify challenges that prevent sustainable talent detection, identification and
development in Mamelodi Primary Schools. Propose a sustainable strategy to guide talent detection, identification and development in
selected sporting codes in Mamelodi Primary Schools to contribute to the achievement of
the strategic objectives of the NSRP.
The research follows a qualitative design method that gathers insight into coaches perceptions
of challenges that prevent sustainable soccer, netball and rugby talent detection, identification
and development in the focus area of Mamelodi Primary Schools. Furthermore, the researcher
used a structured interview to uncover challenges in detection, identification and development in
the selected codes. The research population for this study is soccer, netball and rugby coaches. A
total of nine (n=9) coaches was sampled.
The Humanities Research Ethics Committee (ResEthics) of the University of Pretoria approved
the research prior to the commencement of data collection.
The results confirmed that there was no significant relationship between the participation of
coaches in sport and the influence they had in coaching learners at school. A minority of the
coaches confirmed they had minimal participation in their sporting code, which places a greater
influence in the detection, identification and development and nurturing of talented rugby, soccer
and netball players.
The coaches experience and qualifications have a significant relationship to athlete
development. In this study only a majority of soccer and netball coaches have the required
coaching experience whereas the rugby coaches have minimum coaching experience.
The findings emphasise the importance of and the need for proper systems such as training and
development of coaches in areas such as coaching, tactics and techniques, as they do not have
sufficient experience and the formal qualifications required to coach the athletes.
The study concludes that coaches lack the knowledge and the ability to apply motor-related
fitness skills, the required protocols to measure them and in addition the implications for athlete
development. The majority of the coaches indicated an ability to understand and identify the
technical skills used in their respective codes.