Team South Africa received a financial boost recently with news that the Brazil-bound team will be sponsored by the South African National Lotteries Commission. According to the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), the deal that was signed with the Lotteries Commission is worth around R70 million ($4.7 million).
The money will be used to support the financial needs of the athletes in the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro this August, as well as the athletes in the Paralympic Games and the African Unions Sports Council Region 5 Games.
The deal is an extension of a long-term partnership between the two bodies, although nobody revealed the length of the latest contract.
The chairperson for the National Lotteries Commission, Prof. Ntshengedzeni Nevhutanda said that the group was proud to support South African sport.
He said that besides being the largest funder of sport in the country, the Commission had a long standing partnership with the Olympics and Paralympics through its relationship with SASCOC.
“We are very honored to extend this association in the interests of our athletes who will be competing with the greatest of world sports,” he said.
Prof. Nevhutanda said that through this historical alliance, the Commission has seen South African athletes perform at the Olympics ever since the country was readmitted into the global sports arena. The chairperson pointed out the outstanding achievements of South African athletes who have brought glory to the country over the years.
The National Lotteries Commission was thanked by Gideon Sam, speaking as President on behalf of SASCOC.
“The public’s support is also appreciated because the money they use to purchase lotto tickets go a long way towards supporting Team SA and adding to their success,” said Sam. “We can assure the NLC that their support and continued association with SASCOC has enabled athletes to compete at the highest level of international sports.”
Funds that are generated through the sale of lottery tickets in South Africa are used to support several charities and organizations, including SASCOC.
In recent weeks, Team SA has come under financial strain, with Sam even admitting that SASCOC was “beginning to panic” about not having sufficient funds to send the athletes to Rio.
“You have to be realistic,” he said, “and when the market out there doesn’t respond, there is not much you can do about it. We live as it comes, and money like this are timely injections.”