by GIFT NDOLWANE
PRETORIA, (CAJ News) SOUTH African sports associations have been urged to make the most of modern technology to revive the fortunes of the country’s national teams.
The call comes on the back of the Southern African teams, particularly the senior men’s national soccer teams, struggling to make an impact in international competitions.
A new technology initiative has been launched in the continent with the aim of addressing that decline.
SAP Sports One technology, an innovation by German firm, SAP, is a cloud-based platform that is poised to change the way soccer teams are managed.
The technology is a single platform that allows teams to manage their players and staff as well as optimise player performance with analytics.
SAP Sports One has been unveiled for the first time in Africa during a media briefing in Pretoria to announce the launch of the SAP Africa Kick and Code, which is part of Africa Code Week.
A first of its kind globally, the SAP Africa Kick and Code initiative is for boys and girls aged 8 – 15. They engage in activities that include soccer training from UEFA A-licensed coaches from Germany and South Africa, South African Football Association (SAFA) grass-root coaching license training as well as software coding workshops by IT experts from SAP Africa.
Zach van der Walt, SAP Africa Value Engineer for Sport Entertainment, highlighted the relevance of technology in sport.
“Our customers are looking for new ways to go beyond known limits,” said van der Walt.
Sascha Bauer, international professional soccer coach and Chairman of Football for Worldwide Unity highlighted the relevance of technology to football.
“Competition is growing increasingly fierce, while athletic performance is reaching a peak,” said Bauer.
Kgosi Zimba, Senior Development Project Manager at SAFA Development Agency, believes such technology as SAP Sports One could open untapped potential while providing entirely new insights for better performance in SA national teams.
SAP Africa Head of Government Relations and CSR for Africa, Sunil Geness, revealed SAFA executives had expressed interest in the technology offering and adopting the platform for local football teams.
“This platform is already being used in Europe. The dominance of European teams at international sporting while Africa and South America and Africa lag behind is testament to its success,” added Geness.
He said this technology had been used by sports persons at such tournament as the World Tennis Association.
“It crucial that Africa embraces this technology if the continent to compete successfully at the world stage,” added Geness.
SAP is significantly involved in sport.
In July, the company and City Football group announced a global multi-layer marketing and technology partnership that is set to transform the way the ownership group and its football teams operate and perform from the boardroom to pitch.
Last year, its technological advancements were lauded for helping Germany win the Soccer World Cup.
As the first sports-specific cloud solution powered by SAPHANA Platform , SAP Sports One is intended to be adapted to other sports in the future.
– CAJ News