Maties Sport appoint new Senior Manager for High Performance

Maties Sport recently appointed Keagan van Aarde as the new Senior Manager: High Performance.

The 27-year-old who studied a BSc Sport Science Honors: Sport Performance degree at Stellenbosch University, knows the ins and outs of Maties Sport. Having graduated from being a student-athlete and Primaria at Huis Neethling to one of the first high performance interns and later sport manager for cricket/athletics/chess, his trajectory has only been upward.

Van Aarde who was born and bred in Paarl, carries the Maties Sport ethos in his bones and Maties Sport sat down with him to run through some burning questions before he begins his new role January 2024!

Take us through your journey from student-athlete to senior manager of HP at Stellenbosch University, Maties Sport. What have been some of your highlights? 

My student-athlete journey started in 2014 with Maties cricket where I formed part of the HP group and in March 2017 things changed as I had to make a decision around what is next for Keagan. I then joined the Ryan Bailey’s coaching staff in September 2017 with the focus on Varsity Sport and USSA in 2018, while completing my honours at the same time. In 2019, I become the first Maties High Performance Unit Intern and while I was busy completing my internship program in September 2019 an unexpected opportunity crossed my path when I was asked to become the acting sport manager for cricket. The following year I was entrusted to manage Maties cricket and chess as the full-time sport manager and in 2022 January the additional code of athletics came part of my journey.

My top 4 highlights in this period would definitely be:

  • 2018 USSA vs Tuks at Coetzenburg winning by 2 runs,
  • 2022 Varsity Sport Cricket Champions where I was the Team Manager,
  • 2023 USSA Netball Team manager where they defended the title, and
  • Hosting the book discussion for Caster Semenya most recently on 22 November 2023.    

How do feel about your new appointment and what are your plans for the unit? 

I don’t take this appointment for granted however in the same breath, I’m very excited to lead the unit and ensure we become the leading high-performance unit in South Africa where we can deliver operational excellence and play our part in ensuring that Mates Sport remains on the podium and boast with academic success.

What are you most looking forward to in your new role? 

The challenges that comes with the role, the individuals I will work with and also building on the success my predecessors had with my own flavour.

Tell us more about your role in the women’s sport portfolio. How will you continue to uplift our Maties women sporting codes and athletes? What are the plans for the future? 

Since 2021 I have the privilege to lead the Maties Sport Women in Sport task team who reports to the Chief Directors office. The aim is to be very intentional with women in sport from a code perspective, supporting athletes and coaches to advance our women in sport profile on a high performance level.