Annual Report – 2022
April 11, 2023

Trustee Report

I’m often asked to give a quick overview of what CoolPlay does, and I usually feel that we need an extra LONG elevator ride to get the message across. This is because there are so many layers to CoolPlay, each as meaningful as the next that all have a positive impact on the schools and communities we work with.

In recent conversations with our partners at Under Armour, we’ve been reflecting on the moments of CoolPlay’s truth. We’ve determined that it lies in a Champion’s ability to hold meaningful moments of magic with the kids on the field, time and time again. And that this is done across a network of 19 schools, across five communities in the Western Cape where 36 Champions engage with over 1700 children at least twice a week. These moments of magic could be the decision to leave a gang, to stay in school, or to stand up for a girl on the street – all good decisions which often define your character.

The strength of CoolPlay lies in its consistency – which removes uncertainty and leads to trust. Trust, in turn, leads to influence, and against a backdrop of so many challenges in South Africa, CoolPlay is a positive influence which we believe creates hope for a future in the hands of well – rounded and positive leaders.

2022 will always stand out as the year that we very sadly lost my fellow founding anchor – Johan Schlebusch. He was the original Champion who shaped CoolPlay to what it is today, we all miss him tremendously. The link to my personal tribute to this unsung here can be found here.

In the opening created by the big oak of Johan’s departure, the sun has reached the seeds around him, and I am proud of the resilience that the CoolPlay Management team has shown over the past year. Tori, Luq, Carl and Damion have worked hard to ensure that CoolPlay continues to grow, adapt, and strive to be the best it can be each and every day. To Denis, whose voluntary management of our finances ensures we pay attention to every detail and stretch every cent. We have strengthened our volunteers over the past two years and structured an advisory committee that guides the organisation. Saleem Sonday is now our Chairman and he is joined on the board by Ismail Teladia, Gontse Tsatsi & JP Maurel.

To continue reaching the 1700+ children and more, we need ongoing financial support. We continue to face the problem of most donors only funding for 3-year cycles. The game of snakes and ladders continues. Our goal is relatively modest, same schools, more kids in more teams with the same Champions, who can earn a better income.

We are a registered PBO and can offer Section 18 A tax certificates and continue to look for new foundations, companies and provide them with the BEE points they need. If you know of someone or entity that can help us we would be so grateful if you could guide them in our direction. We need an additional R2m to get to our required budget annually, every little bit will help.

Barry O’ Mahony



CEO Report

As a mother, I have seen the necessity of consistent guidance. I’ve learned how important it is to be there for my children, through the good times and the bad. I’ve seen how vital it is to help them understand themselves and how they deal with others and I’ve learned that a lot of these lessons need to be taught, intentionally and often.

Being involved in sport does teach many of these lessons, yet in the communities we support, the positive adult guidance is often lacking, and these lessons about emotional and social awareness are often left to chance. Our Champions solve that problem and are the positive pillars of support, encouragement and learning that every child deserves and they’re there through the highs and the lows promoting mental wellness – a life long quest.

The impact of CoolPlay is not a once off dose, it is a consistent drip which over time has proven to help many children reach their potential. Like the three CoolPlay participants from Ocean View who had been under the guidance of Champions Grace and Ethan for five years who were awarded full bursaries to previous model C schools in 2023. Or the group of U13 soccer girls from District 6 whose behavioural issues were reported by the principal to have “practically disappeared” since playing soccer together twice a week. There is also the Champion Chenay who was a former participant, whom I met for the first time a year and a half ago. She was so shy she point-blank refused to stand up at a Champion workshop. A few weeks ago, I was sent pictures of her standing tall and presenting in front of a crowded room at an SA netball coaching workshop.

By engaging with more and more people, we’re able to make more of an impact on the community at large and we do this through consistent programme delivery, Champion training and upliftment projects, opportunities for regular sport competition, and across the programme ensuring that respect is promoted across gender, race and culture.

Thank you to our dedicated Champions, to our agile Management team, to our supportive Advisory Committee and volunteers. Thank you to to all the individuals, organisations and schools that are with us on this journey. You are all as much a part of CoolPlay as we are to our partner schools and together we will continue to work together to make the sports field a place where magic happens.


– Tori Gardner