Labour intervenes amid racism in SA rugby
COSATU Western Cape Provincial Chairman, Tony Ehrenreich, expressed deep concern on
the selection of only white rugby players by head coach, Heyneke Meyer.
He challenged the coach to stop excluding capable blacks rugby players saying such
racism was not called for in the country.
This comes in the wake of the Springbok’s all-white players dismally losing
international assignments against New Zealand and Argentina among others.
“The lack of black players in SA rugby teams has reached a crisis, with the latest
choices of the team that lost to the Argentineans over the weekend. The team only
had two black South African players in the starting lineup.
“No other team could possibly perform worse than this team and we insist that a more
representative team be picked for the next game against Argentina. The performance
next week of the mixed team should then lay to rest once and for all the obvious
advantages of picking mixed teams,” Ehrenreich said.
He said South Africans had clearly seen what he called the most mixed team, The
Stormers, performing well ahead of the teams dominated by whites.
“The coach played many of the white players out of their positions as he put them
into specialist positions, where clearly there were black players available. When he
does bring in a few black players, the quality of play changed but too little too
late. This adds insult to injury as the coach ignores the form players of the year
as well as the form teams of the year in favour of his personal preferences,”
He accused the Springbok coach of not having the nation’s interests at heart arguing
that the recent selection of only white players demonstrated a sense of arrogance in
disregarding the interest of the majority of South Africans.
“This coach has been the worst performing coach of all time yet not a word is spoken
about this. When Coach De Villiers led the team the white establishment was quick to
criticise him, yet there is a deafening silence now. There is a white cabal who
still tries to control the rugby team and who gets to play in it,” Ehrenreich said.
He argued that Springbok team belonged to all South Africans.
“This should be reflected in the composition of the team. There is a practice of
reverse affirmative action in Rugby, where certain positions are still maintained
for the white players. This maintenance and control of the white establishment is
reflected in who gets the most lucrative contracts and who gets to continue on in
the sport in leadership and administrative positions,” Ehrenreich said.
Ehrenreich also lashed out at the Springbok captain Jean De Villiers.
“Any other player anywhere else in the world would have to play himself back into
the team after such a long absence, yet he gets to just walk back into the team,
when he is clearly not the form player.”
He called on Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula, and the leadership of the sport to
address the issue.
They must stop pandering to this racist white interest represented and led by the
coach. We want the coach removed and a more representative team selected that
represents all the people of South Africa. We need to get the nation behind the
team and we certainly have a difficulty supporting a white team, when there are so
many black players who are the form players in so many positions, excluded,”
He said COSATU would take a stand against white control, domination and manipulation
of the in the forthcoming selection of the World Cup squad.
“We will make the issue about the exclusion of black players an international
campaign to expose how certain sectors of South Africa refuses to transform, in line
with the national ambition,” Ehrenreich said. – CAJ News
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