Letter: Sport for southern Africa

DEREK HUDSON's article about sport in South Africa's townships, ('To live and play in Soweto', Review, 23 January) is as timely as it is excellent. There is an enthusiasm and commitment to sport throughout southern Africa, bringing together people from all races and backgrounds. This is well demonstrated in the hero's welcome which greets the footballer Bruce Grobbelaar every time he appears in a Zimbabwe shirt, and in the tears of joy shed by the ANC's Steve Tshetwe on South Africa's re-introduction to international cricket.

Derek Hudson highlights the lack of equipment and facilities which prevents many talented black South Africans from taking part in sport. They also lack qualified coaches and sports development officers, who would be able to increase participation as well as identifying and nurturing talent.

As a Voluntary Service Overseas teacher in Zimbabwe, I was struck by the ability of some of my students, especially in athletics and rugby. I was also depressed by the lack of opportunities for this talent to be nurtured. Readers may well wish to support a new VSO initiative. We will be sending volunteers to work as community sports coaches throughout southern Africa, with a view to expanding this programme to the other regions where VSO works.

Tony Brennan

VSO Sports Initiative Co-ordinator

London SW15