Maties Sport Director of Support Services obtains his Master’s degree after two decades in sport management

Jerry Laka is not only one of our senior managers at Maties Sport he is also the resident head of Huis Neethling who homes over 100 student-athletes who represent Maties Sport at provincial and national level. He spends countless hours supporting the Maties Sport staff in areas such as finance, branding, partnerships, facilities, and management to name a few. Moreover, he finds the time to mentor and nurture students that have left home to study and pursue their journey in sport at Stellenbosch University. 

Although he has over 20 years of experience in sport management, he is determined to advance his education specifically in sport and the retention of sport administrators. He consistently encourages the importance of education, “I always tell my students at Huis Neethling you are a student at Stellenbosch University first, then you are an athlete,” says Laka.

Graduating with his Master of Management degree from the Southern Business School yesterday (13 April 2022) focusing on The Attraction and Retention of Talented Sports Administrative Staff in a University Sports South African Environment, as this is an important topic for Laka, this is also one of Maties Sports strategies and developmental areas. Maties Sport prides itself on driving operational excellence and the personal growth of its staff, looking to become an ‘Employer of Choice’ in years to come.

Some of Laka’s accomplishments include:

  • General Secretary of the Confederation of Universities and Colleges Sport Association (CUCSA)
  • Member of the University Sport South Africa (USSA) National Executive Committee.
  • Former Assistant Coach of Banyana Banyana and participated at the London 2012 Olympics
  • USSA General Team Management for the Summer Universiade since 2003 – 2017 serving on different roles
  • Chef de Mission of the 29th Summer Universiade 2017 hosted by Chinese Taipei


We congratulate our fellow staff member with his great accomplishment and sacrifice he has made during these trying times, Jerry is a well-respected mentor and director at Maties Sport. We salute you and are proud to call you ours!

Jerry Laka’s Master’s Abstract 

“The university sport environment in South Africa has been drastically developed in the last ten (10) years, with the introduction of the Varsity Cup in 2008 and Varsity Sports in 2009, which are both commercial competitions that require a great deal of expertise to organise teams and the logistical planning required. Therefore, South African universities are under pressure to recruit and retain efficient, as well as talented sport officers, sport administrators and sport managers (i.e., sport administration employees or [SAEs]) who can deliver successful sports programmes. Departments of sport in universities also need to improve their service offerings, especially in high-performance sport, this in turn affects the recruitment and retention of talented SAEs.

This study sought to discover the patterns, qualities and strategies for the recruitment and retention of SAEs at South African universities.

The SAEs are responsible for the administration and management of quality sports programs at universities to benefit students and the surrounding communities. Hence the need for appropriate recruitment and retention of talented SAEs. These employees are important enablers of sport programs and a vital component of strategic leadership within sport management and administration.

The researcher utilised a qualitative research method in the study to understand the researched phenomenon through interviews from people working in the university sport environment. The researcher conducted virtual interviews with respondents who are in the department of sport in selected South African universities. Data was collected through structured interviews with 18 heads of sport, sport administrators, sport officers and sport managers from 17 South African universities. 

The study identified a lack of strategies, plans or procedures that deal with the recruitment and retention of SAEs at South African universities. The challenges of recruitment and retention were also highlighted in the study. Moreover, the study identified challenges for recruitment and retention of SAEs; the qualities required for employment SAEs and the factors that lead to high staff turnover in South African university sport.

In terms of management implications of the study, it is essential for university management to consider developing strategies for the recruitment and retention of SAEs while simultaneously considering the significance of succession planning.

In conclusion, the implementation of successful sport and recreation programs at South African universities is dependent on the recruitment and retention of talented SAEs. Therefore, it is crucial for South African universities to develop and implement plans and strategies that will assist with the recruitment and retention of such personnel.” (Laka, 2022)

By Jamie Wyngaardt