Connect with us

Sport

‘They’ve Got Guns, What The Hell Are You Doing?’

Entrepreneur and former South African hockey captain Warren Bond is going to leave his desk to play for his country and will never forget the day he faced an army.

Published

on

It was the strangest tournament that Warren Bond ever played in. He was in Egypt, playing for South Africa, against four of the world’s hockey nations. Their hosts had put them up in a military hotel; outside Bond’s window was a parked fighter jet. Every now and again a tank rumbled past. A police escort took them to the stadium.

Their matches were just as daunting. The stadium in Cairo was empty but for a small bunch of men in suits and ties including Hosni Mubarak, being a big hockey fan, says Bond.

When the final game came, Bond but his fellow South Africans could see nothing but angry soldiers.

“We got to the stadium thinking it was going to be completely empty but it was full. Every spectator was in military uniform. It was quite intimidating. They had been given instructions that whenever an Egyptian got the ball they went mad and the crowd would be silent when we had the ball. You couldn’t script it,” says Bond.

The silence was deafening as South Africa scored the winning goal. As the ball hit the net a sublime moment turned bizarre when Gregg Clark celebrated.

“I won’t show you what he did, but basically he ran along the sidelines abusing and shouting at all the spectators. We were shouting ‘Clarky they’re the army, they’re lethal, they’ve got guns. What the hell are you doing?’” he says.

Bond remembers Clark’s victory dance before the Egyptian army like it was yesterday. He last played for South Africa in 2003 where he clocked up 64 caps, five of them as captain.

Few hockey players these days can say they have beaten Australia twice and been to the Commonwealth Games, but Bond can. He was even supposed to have gone to the 2000 Sydney Olympics until the National Olympic Committee of South Africa pulled the side three months before the event, saying there were not enough players of color.

Then in March, he got the call. His country needed him again. He was called to play for the South African Masters side, a team for those that are 40 years and above. They needed him to brush the dust off his boots and play in the FIH Masters World Cup in The Hague, Netherlands.

“It used to be you would be called up to a squad, then you would go to national camp and at the end of it you would wait, praying for your name to called out by the selectors. If they did, you would go and play for South Africa. Now, your mates call you up and say ‘hey, you’ve been selected to play for South Africa for your age-group’. And you’re like ‘well how did I get selected?’ and they say ‘no we just decided that it would be cool if you joined the team,’” says Bond.

In the 10 year gap between internationals, Bond had not been idle. He has completed the Comrades Marathon twice, a grueling 89-kilometer road race between Pietermaritzburg and Durban in Kwa-Zulu Natal.

South African hockey players have to work. It simply doesn’t pay. When he was in his heydays as an international player, Bond worked as a chartered accountant. He also founded Sport For All, a franchise operation which has 15 sports coaching businesses running in South African townships. On the business side he invested in Luminous, a banking innovations technology company which revolutionized online accounting with First National Bank (FNB).

“One of my partners got tired of capturing bank statements and recapturing the same data later on. We thought this made no sense, there had to be a smarter way, so why not get the banks to do this? We invested in it and landed up with FNB as a customer,” he says.

Bond also created an innovation matchmaking site, called Matchi. It helps connect entrepreneurs with banks.

“I’ve seen it. People can spend two years talking to the wrong people at a bank, spending millions and millions of rands.”

It’s a sign of his outdoor life that the idea was born nowhere near an office or a bank, but on a river to Mandalay in the jungles of Burma. Another entrepreneurial venture was born while hiking the Himalayas below Mount Everest.

“It’s minus 15 degrees outside and you have your piece of chipboard and your little mattress. You wake up and everything is frozen, it’s an amazing place for ideas.”

From the road to Mandalay to a small piece of astroturf in the Johannesburg winter where aging hockey stars play. Bond takes to hockey like a fish returning to water. For a moment it could be Cairo in 2000, instead it’ll be in The Hague in 2014 when he pops off a few skilful moves with his dusty old stick.

“I am not too worried about the fitness; I am a bit worried about converting it to the sprinting which is a different ball game,” he quips.

“It’s a bunch of mates you see once a year. What’s more you get to compete against some of the people you played against internationally, under more relaxed circumstances. It’s different at Masters. You are going there knowing you will have a few beers with them after them game. You couldn’t have too many of those when you were in the middle of a series against Australia,” says Bond.

His return to hockey will be less daunting. This time, Bond won’t be in the middle of stadium of mean sounding soldiers.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Comments

30 under 30

Applications Open for FORBES AFRICA 30 Under 30 class of 2020

Published

on

FORBES AFRICA is on the hunt for Africans under the age of 30, who are building brands, creating jobs and transforming the continent, to join our Under 30 community for 2020.


JOHANNESBURG, 07 January 2020: Attention entrepreneurs, creatives, sport stars and technology geeks — the 2020 FORBES AFRICA Under 30 nominations are now officially open.

The FORBES AFRICA 30 Under 30 list is the most-anticipated list of game-changers on the continent and this year, we are on the hunt for 30 of Africa’s brightest achievers under the age of 30 spanning these categories: Business, Technology, Creatives and Sport.

Each year, FORBES AFRICA looks for resilient self-starters, innovators, entrepreneurs and disruptors who have the acumen to stay the course in their chosen field, come what may.

Past honorees include Sho Madjozi, Bruce Diale, Karabo Poppy, Kwesta, Nomzamo Mbatha, Burna Boy, Nthabiseng Mosia, Busi Mkhumbuzi Pooe, Henrich Akomolafe, Davido, Yemi Alade, Vere Shaba, Nasty C and WizKid.

What’s different this year is that we have whittled down the list to just 30 finalists, making the competition stiff and the vetting process even more rigorous. 

Says FORBES AFRICA’s Managing Editor, Renuka Methil: “The start of a new decade means the unraveling of fresh talent on the African continent. I can’t wait to see the potential billionaires who will land up on our desks. Our coveted sixth annual Under 30 list will herald some of the decade’s biggest names in business and life.”

If you think you have what it takes to be on this year’s list or know an entrepreneur, creative, technology entrepreneur or sports star under 30 with a proven track-record on the continent – introduce them to FORBES AFRICA by applying or submitting your nomination.

NOMINATIONS AND APPLICATIONS CRITERIA:

Business and Technology categories

  1. Must be an entrepreneur/founder aged 29 or younger on 31 March 2020
  2. Should have a legitimate REGISTERED business on the continent
  3. Business/businesses should be two years or older
  4. Nominees must have risked own money and have a social impact
  5. Must be profit generating
  6. Must employ people in Africa
  7. All applications must be in English
  8. Should be available and prepared to participate in the Under 30 Meet-Up

Sports category

  1. Must be a sports person aged 29 or younger on 31 March 2020
  2. Must be representing an African team
  3. Should have a proven track record of no less than two years
  4. Should be making significant earnings
  5. Should have some endorsement deals
  6. Entrepreneurship and social impact is a plus
  7. All applications must be in English
  8. Should be available and prepared to participate in the Under 30 Meet-Up

Creatives category

  1. Must be a creative aged 29 or younger on 31 March 2020
  2. Must be from or based in Africa
  3. Should be making significant earnings
  4. Should have a proven creative record of no less than two years
  5. Must have social influence
  6. Entrepreneurship and social impact is a plus
  7. All applications must be in English
  8. Should be available and prepared to participate in the Under 30 Meet-Up

Your entry should include:

  • Country
  • Full Names
  • Company name/Team you are applying with
  • A short motivation on why you should be on the list
  • A short profile on self and company
  • Links to published material / news clippings about nominee
  • All social media handles
  • Contact information
  • High-res images of yourself

Applications and nominations must be sent via email to FORBES AFRICA journalist and curator of the list, Karen Mwendera, on [email protected]

Nominations close on 3 February 2020.

Continue Reading

Sport

The Springboks And The Cup Of Good Hope

Published

on

After their epic win beating England at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan on November 2, the Springboks returned home to South Africa, undertaking a nation-wide tour, in an open-top bus, holding high the Webb Ellis Cup. In this image, in the township of Soweto, they pass the iconic Vilakazi Street with throngs of screaming, cheering residents and Springbok fans lining the street. The sport united the racially-divided country. For the third time in history, the South African national rugby team was crowned world champions.

Image by Motlabana Monnakgotla

Continue Reading

Featured

Déjà vu: South Africa Back to Winning

Our Publisher reflects on the recent Springbok victory in Yokohoma, Japan

Published

on

Rugby World Cup 2019, Final: England v South Africa Mtach viewing at Nelson Mandela Square

By Rakesh Wahi, Publisher
FORBES AFRICA

Rugby is as foreign to me as cricket is to the average American. However, having lived in South Africa for 15 years, there is no way to avoid being pulled into the sport. November 2, 2019, is therefore a date that will be celebrated in South Africa’s sporting posterity. In many ways, it’s déjà vu for South Africans; at a pivotal time in history, on June 24, 1995, the Springboks beat the All Blacks (the national rugby team of New Zealand) in the final of the World Cup. The game united a racially-divided country coming out of apartheid and at the forefront of this victory was none other than President Nelson Mandela or our beloved Madiba. In a very symbolic coincidence, 24 years later, history repeated itself.

South Africans watched with pride as Siya Kolisi lifted the gold trophy in Yokohama, Japan, as had Francois Pienaar done so 24 years ago in Johannesburg. My mind immediately reflected on this extremely opportune event in South Africa’s history.

The last decade has not been easy; the country has slipped into economic doldrums from which there seems to be no clear path ahead. The political transition from the previously corrupt regime has not been easy and it has been disheartening to see a rapid deterioration in the economic condition of the country. The sad reality is that there literally seems to be no apparent light at the end of the tunnel; with blackouts and load-shedding, a currency that is amongst the most volatile in the world, rising unemployment and rising crime amongst many other issues facing the country.

Rakesh Wahi, Publisher Forbes Africa

Something needed to change. There was a need for an event to change this despondent state of mind and the South African rugby team seems to have given a glimmer of hope that could not have come at a more opportune time. As South African flags were flying all over the world on November 2, something clicked to say that there is hope ahead and if people come together under a common mission, they can be the change that they want to see.

Isn’t life all about hope? Nothing defies gravity and just goes up; Newton taught us that everything that goes up will come down. Vicissitudes are a part of life and the true character of people, society or a nation is tested on how they navigate past these curve balls that make us despair. As we head into 2020, it is my sincere prayer that we see a new dawn and a better future in South Africa with renewed vigor and vitality.

Talking about sports and sportsmen, there is another important lesson that we need to take away. Having been a sportsman all my life, I have had a belief that people who have played team sports like cricket, rugby, soccer, hockey etc make great team players and leaders. However, other sports like golf, diving and squash teach you focus. In all cases, the greatest attribute of all is how to reset your mind after adversity. While most of us moved on after amateur sports to find our place in the world, the real sportspeople to watch and learn from are professionals. It is their grit and determination.

My own belief is that one must learn how to detach from a rear view mirror. You cannot ignore what is behind you because that is your history; you must learn from it. Our experiences are unique and so is our history. It must be our greatest teacher. However, that’s where it must end. As humans, we must learn to break the proverbial rear view mirror and stop worrying about the past. You cannot change what is behind you but you can influence and change what is yet to come.

I had the good fortune of playing golf with Chester Williams (former rugby player who was the first person of color to play for the Springboks in the historic win in 1995 and sadly passed away in September 2019) more than once at the SuperSport Celebrity Golf Shootout.

Chester played his golf fearlessly; perhaps the way he led his life. He would drive the ball 300 meters and on occasion went into the woods or in deep rough. Psychologically, as golfers know, this sets you back just looking at a bad lie, an embedded or unplayable ball or a dropped shot in a hazard. For a seasoned golfer, it is not the shot that you have hit but the one that you are about to hit. Chester has a repertoire of recovery shots and always seemed to be in the game even after some wayward moments. There is a profound lesson in all of this. You have to blank your mind from the negativity or sometimes helplessness and bring a can do and positive frame of reference back into your game (and life). Hit that recovery shot well and get back in the game; that’s what champions do.

We need to now focus our attention on the next shot and try and change the future than stay in the past.

Continue Reading

Trending