Universiteit Stellenbosch
Welkom by Universiteit Stellenbosch
Accolades to our #MaroonMachine family
Outeur: Petro Mostert
Gepubliseer: 04/03/2024

Ilhaam Groenewald, Chief Director Maties Sport, writes: 


2023 was another exceptional year for Maties Sport and our student-athletes, both on and off the field.  


In addition to our nine high-performance teams achieving an 85% academic pass rate across our nine high-performance codes, 18 of our sporting disciplines collected thirty medals (ten gold, eight silver, and twelve bronze). Our Maties student-athletes have fared exceptionally well on the national and international stage, with 47 student-athletes representing South Africa and their countries across 12 different sporting codes. A few of our codes won their respective league titles with highly contested victories for Western Province (rugby 15s, hockey) and Cape Town (netball) and Football winning the sought-after ABC Motsepe Nedbank Cup.  


Congratulations to our #MaroonMachine family of staff, student-athletes, coaches, medicine and sport science support staff, facilities and grounds teams, interns, sponsors, donors, partners, stakeholders, families, friends, communities, and to our fans on another amazing year.     


After a good break, reviewing these outstanding performances reminds us how privileged we are and that we should be grateful for the opportunity to achieve through the power of sport.  


Maties Sport has also had a few staff movements. We said farewell to Grant van Velden - our previous head coach for high-performance; to Cameron Donkin, our strength and conditioning coach; and Lungako Mweli our athlete support services manager, who had a short stay with us. We wish them all well in their future endeavors. While it is challenging when key staff move on in their careers, it provides opportunities for new appointments or promotions of current staff, celebrating healthy internal advancement. In this spirit, we congratulate Keagan van Aarde as our senior manager: high-performance since January 2024.  


A reminder and lesson in 2023 is the importance of the #MaroonTeam because, at times, we contribute beyond the call of duty, and to continue to keep driving results, we need our staff to do so. I don’t always get it right, but I am committed to advancing every one of our team members.   


With the re-allocation of sports codes, and staff movements, change is inevitable, and to manage these changes, as the Chief Director of Maties Sport, my key focus areas for 2024 will be:  


Human resource management with the focus on strengthening skills to further advance our operational excellence; revisit personal development plans to align to our succession planning; and facilitate investment by everyone to contribute towards a balanced, healthy, and positive work environment for both career and personal wellbeing.  


Advancing our relevance through social impact, research and building capacity through our Centre for Sport Leadership (CSL) and the recently awarded International Olympic Committee (IOC) Research Studies Centre which, in partnership with CSL, present excellent opportunities to showcase and apply our research and management expertise 


Personal development and the advancement of my own knowledge and expertise through the pursuit of my Ph.D. I can do so with the support and guidance of my family, the #MaroonMachine team, and the leadership of Professor Stan du Plessis, the University’s Chief Operating Officer and Maties Sport’s line manager.  


We are geared up for 2024 to advance our relevance through what we do for and with our internal and external stakeholders. We remain committed to Stellenbosch University’s inclusivity, excellence, and innovation vision. We will continue to make a difference, guided by our vision ‘To be the leading university, contributing to a holistic and diverse experience through sport.’