JOHANNESBURG - The South African Men’s hockey team is pulling out all the stops to make their Tokyo 2021 Olympic dream a reality during a difficult financial climate for the federation. The team has been boosted by a partnership with award-winning platform, Matchkit.co, to further commercialise and grow their brand as they step up their preparation for the showpiece expected to be held in July this year.
Mathckit.co has enabled the team to set up a crowdfunding campaign, with a plea to all corporates, fans and the public to get behind the team as they look to raise the 3.5million Rands needed to fulfil their Olympic dream.
Team Head coach, Garreth Ewing, says the partnership will give the players and staff a vital commercial boost in a sporting code that has struggled for support.
“We are running a highly professional environment with very little financial support,” he explained. “All of the teams who are ranked above us on the rankings have full-time resources including players and staff. All of our players and staff have full-time jobs, every bit of support will go a long way.
“We are ranked 14th and the goal is for us to play the top six teams in the world to test ourselves against the best. We have been invited to a few tournaments overseas in preparation for Tokyo, but the challenge remains the ability to meet the financial demands required of us to participate.
“Getting to the Olympics is a dream come true, especially considering how difficult it is to qualify. We have done the hard work and deserve to be there; it would be heart-breaking if we are unable to go. We hope as many beneficiaries as possible will come out in support of our dream,” he concluded.
MatchKit.co was awarded Gold for best mobile app at the MMA Smarties awards due to the mobile web app’s immediate traction.
Matchkit’s growth since its launch in June 2020 has given athletes unprecedented access to a growing global digital environment. Co-founder, Mike Sharman, says the move to team up with the Men’s hockey team is inspired by his team’s commitment to continue shaping the future of South African sports.
“Our purpose is to help athletes better commercialise their careers” he said. “In 10 months we’ve created partnerships with Red Bull, South America’s 6 rugby playing nations and the USA Olympic swimming team, but the project most close to our heart is SA Men’s Hockey.
“They are fully transformed with 50% black team members at player level and 60% black representatives at management level, yet there is still zero support from SASCOC. We are offering our tech up for free to help the hockey team raise the R3.5-5m to get them to Tokyo. We know sport can change lives and we are committed to see every colour and creed of South African represented on the global stage.”
The Men’s squad features an exciting blend of experience, youth and diversity; a glowing representation of the talent South Africa has to offer. Rising goal-keeper Siya Ntshulunga - who currently juggles a full-time job while living his dream- hopes the platform will grow his profile as he looks for sponsorship opportunities.
“ It is very difficult finding sponsorship opportunities so any platform that can help grow my profile and brand will be beneficial towards getting that support,” he said.
“The challenges of working full-time, playing sport and representing your country is never an easy task, it comes with great responsibility. It comes with sacrifices; from waking up extra early in the morning to push yourself in training to then fulfilling your KPI's at work during the day.
“Not many people have the opportunity to represent their country so we have to make sure we make the most of all the opportunities and resources we get. I’m so thankful to Matchkit for offering us this platform, I hope the supporters will get behind us,” he concluded.
Interested beneficiaries can pledge their support for the team on the crowdfunding link on the profile below: https://matchkit.co/springdog