Johannesburg - The Springboks rugby world cup winning captain Siya Kolisi has signed a management deal with the star-studded Roc Nation Sports International group.
Kolisi, who is the first black captain of the Springboks, lifted the Webb Ellis Cup in November to much joy in the country.
With his signature, he joins the likes of international sports stars such as Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City Football Club, Romelu Lukaku of Inter Milan, Jerome Boateng of Bayern Munich, Eric Bailly of Manchester United and fellow African, Samuel Chukwueze of Villarreal FC.
Recently, Kolisi whose global footprint has shot up dramatically after the world cup victory in Japan, was at Anfield, where he was invited by Liverpool FC coach Jurgen Klopp to watch his favourite football team in action.
Blessed an honoured to have met Siya Kolisi. World Champion 🏆 (and a big LFC fan 😉) But above all an enormous inspiration beyond his sport 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/f1fyDxYeUI— Gini Wijnaldum (@GWijnaldum) December 1, 2019
In announcing Kolisi as a new addition of their global stars, Roc Nation described the Bok forward as a ‘hero’ and said he took the lead in unifying the nation with the world cup victory in Japan.
“Only in South Africa could a captaincy have the power to change the nation around it – there was power in a squad made up of different backgrounds and races coming together to reach one goal, and Kolisi embraced his position as a privilege rather than a responsibility or burden,” said Roc Nation.
“Kolisi represents generations of black players who were never offered the same opportunities purely on the basis of South African laws. Stepping on to the pitch in Yokohama, Japan, he was living the dream for those who weren’t given the same opportunities as him.
“The impact of that captaincy was far greater than anything he could achieve with a ball on the pitch. South African rugby, up until that point, had represented nuances of a complicated nation,” they added.
Remarking on the deal, Kolisi said he was thrilled.
“I’m overjoyed to be joining the Roc Nation family, and to be the first South African to do so is a special feeling. The team is very much an extension of my own family, they have been extremely welcoming and passionate about my story and my journey. It’s the perfect partnership and I’m excited to get started,” he said.
And Michael Yormark, the president of Roc Nation Sports International, said Kolisi was now an iconic unifying figure for the world.
“Siya Kolisi joins the Roc Nation Sports International family as an iconic unifying figure, who has faced adversity and come through it as a role model to many, not only in Africa but around the world. A real talent of substance, we are thrilled to support Siya in his career moving forward,” he said.
The first black man to captain the World Cup Champion South African Rugby team in 126 years of the sport. A global, unifying figure. Honored to have you join the family, @SiyaKolisi_Bear. 🇿🇦 #RocFampic.twitter.com/UBeiUpFept— Roc Nation Sports (@RocNationSports) December 5, 2019
This photo of Siya Kolisi throwing the R.O.C in the air is everything 😭😍💃and the video Roc Nation Sports made welcoming him ayyy🔥🏆 pic.twitter.com/mYoz0Rl12m— Pampi (@MissPampi) December 5, 2019
When the world speaks of Kolisi making it from adversity, they are talking about his humble upbringing in the Port Elizabeth township of Zwide in the Eastern Cape, where he was raised by his grandmother. He was born to teenage parents, with his mom dying when he was still a teenager.
He would sleep on the couch at his grandmother’s house.
When the Boks last won the world cup in 2007, Kolisi watched the game at a local tavern.
But he loved the game of rugby, honing his talents in the rough, playing on dirt fields. As a 12-year-old, Grey High spotted him and offered him a scholarship, but his mother and grandmother passed on six years apart, during his teen years.
He persevered and eventually made it "pro" with the Stormers until he eventually made his way to the Boks and eventually the captaincy.
“Today, Kolisi stands as not only a Rugby World Cup champion, but a BBC ‘Sports Star of the Year’ nominee and one of New African’s ‘Most Influential Africans’ – achievements that demonstrate the impact of his journey outside of sport.
“A son of the soil and icon of substance, Kolisi epitomes a new face – the challenges and adversities he has faced over the last 28 years reflect the growing pain that South Africa has encountered and yet he continues to rise above them, creating hope for multiple generations,” said his new management company.