Maccabi South Africa had a very successful 2018/19, with the past 12 months largely spent preparing for the 15th European Maccabi Games (EMG) which took place in Budapest, Hungary from 30 July – 6 August 2019. The team’s performance bodes well for the future, with Maccabi’s Junior athletes demonstrating great talent, spirit and determination.
South Africa was one of eight non-European countries invited to EMG, which also included Israel. Maccabi SA took a delegation of 88 athletes and officials and competed in futsal, half-marathon, swimming, table tennis and tennis. The team was cheered on by a supporters group of over 70 family and friends.
#TeamMaccabiSA performed exceptionally well, winning 17 golds. In total they brought home 69 medals, comprising two futsal, two half-marathon, 14 tennis and 51 swimming medals. SA finished in 5th place (based on total medals won) out of 42 countries. This is an outstanding achievement for our team, against countries with far bigger delegations and significantly more resources. All the hard work and training the athletes put in paid off and they certainly did South Africa proud. A list of results is provided in the records section of this diary.
Our very active Maccabi Western Province division spent the last year focusing on EMG, including organising various fund-raising events which provided a valuable resource for Team Maccabi SA.
On the rugby front, we once again entered a senior team into the Cape Town 10s held in February 2019. The squad was managed by Brad Berger and coached by Paul Cohen and Tyrell Tintinger, all experienced Maccabians. Under the captaincy of Pirates’ Brent Kier, the team performed admirably to reach the semis of the 2nd league, losing narrowly 7-5. This was a great result for a young squad who are in a building phase, with a number of talented junior players coming up through the ranks.
Maccabi SA Golf held a series of successful Family Golf Days, sponsored by Investec for Business, which have attracted a great turnout of talented junior golfers, as well as added a lot of new faces on the circuit.
In addition to providing opportunities for competition and encouraging excellence, we also continued to focus on recreational activities for the community.
Following on from the success of the 2018 Bidvest Maccabi SA Fun Run, Maccabi SA’s Sports Director Jarred Gronemann was invited to attend a global Maccabi Fun Run Seminar in Greece in January 2019. 27 countries will have hosted Maccabi Runs around the world by the end of 2019, with SA’s second edition in November 2019 promising to be bigger and even better, including raising funds for the participants’ chosen Jewish charities.
The seminar in Greece included the Future Leadership Forum, which aims to get 18 – 30-year-olds more actively involved in the Jewish community via various Young Adult Programmes and events. Maccabi SA’s very motivated Youth Committee organised soccer tournaments at the Habonim and Bnei Akiva camps in December 2018, and we once again sponsored sports equipment to encourage the students to keep active. The Youth Committee also recently held a Young Adults soccer tournament in Johannesburg.
Maccabi SA delegates also attended the annual Maccabi World Union Conference in Israel in May 2019, where participants strengthened bonds with colleagues from around the world and shared ideas and learnings which serve to enhance local strategies.
Maccabi SA has continued to grow its relationship with the Jewish Day Schools. With the 2021 Games fast approaching, selectors will be looking to these pupils to form the Junior team, and Maccabi thus seeks to promote both participation and excellence. As part of this process, our Youth Committee recently hosted soccer and volleyball tournaments at King David Linksfield and Victory Park’s Encounter Programmes.
Looking ahead to the next generation of Maccabians, various events were held in Johannesburg for the youngest sports stars. The highlights included a Dads & Lads Cricket Day, an u10-13 Cricket Tournament and an action soccer and netball tournament for u9-11’s.
Maccabi SA once again supported Afrika Tikkun as part of its outreach programme, including the collection and donation of new and second-hand equipment for the organisation’s comprehensive sports programme.
Maccabi SA continues to focus on delivering its core mandate – to provide a meaningful programme of sporting activities, including both recreation and competition, which serves to enrich the Jewish community.
In order to optimise our services, we undertook a review of our constitutional and governance structures, to bring them in line with current organisational needs and best practice. The new MOI was officially adopted and the inaugural meeting will be held in October 2019 when the new Board of Directors will be elected. The groundwork has also been laid for the implementation of a commercial partnership programme, which will hopefully deliver much needed income.
Despite a tough economic climate, Maccabi SA has succeeded in providing a valuable sporting service to the community. This would not be possible without the support of loyal donors and the team of volunteers who are the heart and soul of Maccabi – the coaches, managers, convenors, administrators and medical personnel – all of whom give so generously of their time and expertise. Maccabi is also grateful to the devoted group of parents across the country, who really go above and beyond to give their children every opportunity to thrive and succeed on the sports field.
We look forward to the next year, which will include our launch and build up to the 2021 Maccabi Games in Israel, as we continue to promote Jewish identity and pride through sport.
Wishing you a healthy and sporting 2020.
Chairman of the Board, Maccabi South Africa