As per the adopted mandate from SAPA Exco the following transformation policy will be implemented in 2017.
Fast track a development player into the national team. To this end, SAPA would invite members to submit applications of prospective development players with sufficient polo talent to take part in a transformation program. SAPA would select a group of players based on their present education levels and polo skills to participate in tournaments under the mentorship of their employers and/or SAPA coaches. They would, together with their employers, be required to enter into a contract to participate in a number of selected high goal tournaments to gain experience at higher levels. Selected applicants would also be expected to participate in curtain raiser matches until such time as they are capable of higher honors.
Target schools to recognize polo as an official sport - in other words market polo to as many of South Africa’s top schools as possible.
Target wealthy black entrepreneurs to take up polo using an aggressive marketing campaign.
Market polo to black riding schools (such as the Soweto Riding School) and to the Pony Club of South Africa.
Polo, being an expensive sport, would require considerable funding making its accessibility to the masses difficult. To increase this accessibility and to improve the skill capacities of individuals, SAPA would introduce courses to empower previously disadvantaged individuals in:
- Grooming and horse care
- Farrier courses
- Coaching courses
- Veterinary health care
- Polo Administration
To date, a number of transformation players have expressed interest in participating in the “fast track” program.
The mechanics of which tournaments prospective applicants will attend will have to be finalized once the selection of the applicants has been made. Applicants will be required to sign a contract for acceptance into the scheme.
The selection of applicants will be made by a panel from Exco – the Executive Director, Selby Williamson and John Eustace. The prospective applicants will need to be screened individually for their polo and social skills.
Targeting schools to recognize polo as an official sport is being carried out through SANESA (South African National Equestrian Schools Association) which is an affiliated discipline to the SAEF. This will kick off early next year when the new school year resumes.
Targeting wealthy black entrepreneurs is already in place through the Inanda Polo School run by Craig James. To date he have two black businessmen and one Indian who have commenced with lessons and playing slow chukkas.
Improving skills capacities of previously disadvantaged individuals will be done in association with ECASA (Equestrian Coaches Association of South Africa). ECASA is an affiliated member to the SAEF and will also be involved in the accreditation of SAPA’s coaches when this is phased in.
ECASA have a number of training providers and programs country wide – for example, the Graham and Rhona Beck Skills Center in Roberston where there are currently 44 thoroughbred stud grooms being qualified.
There are a number of skills certifications and qualifications on offer:
- Riding Proficiency (Mounted Police and Tourism make big use of these)
- Professional Groom
- Professional Head Groom
- Professional Yard Manager
They also offer a gamut of all sorts of specializations in Stud, Farriery, Riding, Teaching and Coaching.
ECASA work very closely with technical reps for the specializations/disciplines and the qualifications are internationally recognized.