Sunday Tribune

Habana, partner to raise funds for SA’S Olympic hopefuls


WITH less than 18 months to before the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics and Paralympic­s, former Springbok Bryan Habana and business partner Mike Sharman have set out to provide unique sporting sponsorshi­p opportunit­ies for South Africa’s athletic hopefuls.

Habana and Sharman have set up a company, Matchkit, which has already done sterling work on the national sports landscape. In March 2021, Matchkit came to the rescue of the South African men’s hockey team to raise both awareness and over R300 000 to ensure the national team could compete at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics in July 2021.

There were no funds for the hockey team and players were required to foot the bill if they wished to play in Tokyo.

Matchkit also stepped into the breach to reward athletes for outstandin­g Olympic achievemen­ts. They used their technology and social media platforms, to raise close to R500 000 in medal bonuses for swimmer Tatjana Schoenmake­r and surfer Bianca Buitendag.

A few days ago, Matchkit launched their “Adopt-an-athlete” campaign to ensure the best chance of a favourable medal return at the

Paris Olympics. The campaign earns support for South Africa’s athletic hopefuls.

“Having worked with SA Hockey to help them in their financial preparatio­ns to get to Tokyo, we then realised how many other bodies and sports unions were in desperate need,” said Sharman.

“There is a need for a new commercial or financial model to be able to help them in their exploits to get to the Olympics and Paralympic­s.

“There wasn’t enough time during that period then because there were only about six weeks remaining until the (Tokyo) event.

“This time we are starting 18 months before the Olympics and Paralympic­s so that we can make an impact. We want to raise more than R1 million for our heroes and heroines in need, both the abled and differentl­y-abled.

“How we have attracted interest to date is off the back of our athletes. I put out a tweet one month ago asking Olympic hopefuls to reach out based on those who desperatel­y need funding, or where there wasn’t an existing funding model in place.

“We have proactivel­y reached out to that community, engaged with them and are now ready to make a change. This is the year of active citizenshi­p. We call it subsistenc­e citizenshi­p and we’re not going to sit around and wait for something to happen. We’re going to be the change.”

Sharman is well-known in the communicat­ions industry in Africa.

Habana said that athletes are short-changed because South African society have not given all a fair chance of competing and succeeding internatio­nally.

“The unfortunat­e reality is that the bodies tasked with investing in our individual and Cinderella sports are ill-equipped to unlock commercial opportunit­ies for the athletes representi­ng South Africa on the global stage,” said Habana.

“It is not enough to simply pay for an athlete’s plane ticket to an Olympic Games and expect a worldclass performanc­e.

“There needs to be a sustainabl­e solution and ongoing support to ensure our athletes are financiall­y equipped to compete with their contempora­ries.

“Matchkit strives to make athletes financiall­y fit, to ensure they are not reliant on antiquated institutio­ns, unable to deliver on their basic mandates.”

Sharman has urged corporates and South Africans to visit their website and see the list of athletes in need of sponsorshi­p. “Choose an athlete you would like to ‘adopt’ for Paris, from crowdfundi­ng to bespoke sponsorshi­p packages,” said Sharman.

“Matchkit can facilitate an auditable, transparen­t solution and issue you a section 18A certificat­e, for a possible tax deduction.”

 ?? LENDING A HELPING HAND: Bok legend Bryan Habana. | KIM LUDBROOK EPA ??

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