Sports minister Fikile Mbalula. Picture: Lefty Shivambu

Carolina, Mpumalanga - National sports teams should know how to sing the national anthem Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula said on Wednesday.

Speaking during the handover of a multi-purpose sports facility at Zinikeleni Secondary School, in Carolina, Mpumalanga, Mbalula said the inability of national teams to sing the anthem had to end, a Sapa correspondent reported.

“We don't have a crisis of talent in South Africa. It is there and it is raw. It must be nurtured. We must strengthen the academies so that we are able to build a formidable sight,” said Mbalula.

“From what we have and the crop of players that we have in this generation, we need to fix ourselves to ensure that they are given a chance and an opportunity. These people must understand what it means to be patriotic.”

The minister said young people needed role models and should know that being a winning nation was non-negotiable.

The new sport facility at the school, with netball, volleyball and basketball courts, would encourage the youth to participate in the School Sport Mass Participation Programme.

Tebogo Chego, a 19-year-old Grade 11 pupil, said the minister had given them a chance to shine.

“I am very happy that now we are able to shine in our sports and we are able to stay away from the street because it so easy to be influenced into negative things,” Chego said.

Angel Mthembu, 12, who was in the netball team, said she was fortunate to be playing sport.

“I enjoy playing netball and I'm happy that my teacher encouraged me to do sports in the school. Now we have a bigger and better facility to showcase our talent,” Mthembu said.