Kaymo’s Korner: Dan Qeqe Stadium mirrors the sad state of SA sport

2014-03-19 10:00

My late uncle, a keen cricketer but a rather average rugby player, often used to regale his friends about matches at the venerable Dan Qeqe Stadium in Zwide, Port Elizabeth.

While I never heard him say he participated in matches at the ground, memories of his tales are etched in my mind.

So when I was in Port Elizabeth recently for the cricket, I felt compelled to go see this field of dreams.

I headed out on the R75 to Uitenhage to see for myself the unassuming but ultimately important ground in South African rugby history.

The surrounding fields and the oval were in good shape but the main stadium was a sad, shabby wreck – not even a shadow of its former self.

And to think this was the mecca of black sport during the apartheid era. How could such an icon of South African sport be allowed to decay like this? Guns should be pointed at the heads of those responsible for its state.

Standing in the middle of the patchy, bone-dry field, I was reminded of how the ground mirrored the sad state of two opposing but ultimately important Eastern Cape sports and the impact that it is having on South African sport in general.

The codes I’m referring to are Border Rugby and Eastern Province Cricket.

These are two strategically important areas in terms of producing African players, and their slow demise will assuredly have a detrimental effect.

Border Rugby’s administrative malaise has spilt on to the field in wretched performances.

The union has been in a mess for such a long time, it is anybody’s guess how it will dig itself out of its eternal black hole.

But the spat at Eastern Province Cricket is extremely worrying.

Eastern Province Cricket houses the Warriors franchise and during the formation of the franchise about 10 years ago, its location was a big debate until it settled in Port Elizabeth. It was sad for the Border region that Port

Elizabeth won but it was ultimately good for business and cricket.

Unfortunately, the Eastern Province administration, with its factional battles and a severely untransformed team, will not serve any purpose for South African cricket.

The local clubs at the heart of this debilitating battle have every reason to feel resentful at how the election process has panned out.

I am aggrieved by how their team is not demographically representative of its racial stock at the amateur level.

It is utterly inexplicable that Border is able to field a team of 10 African players week in week out, yet the Warriors seem unable to take advantage of this.

It seems in terms of sport, everything to do with Africans stays on the losing side.

Monde Tabata, whom I think is the right salvage man, is tasked with steering Border Rugby’s ship. Good luck to him.

The same goes for Max Jordaan, Cricket SA’s transformation manager and a Port Elizabeth local.

A broken and shattered Eastern Province Cricket will not do African players any good because their one limited door to cricket opportunity could be shut.

As damaged as the Dan Qeqe Stadium is, there is always an opportunity for renewal.

Please, you two stepchildren of Eastern Cape sport, get your acts together.

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