Doesn’t this just take the cake?

2015-09-09 06:00

IF there isn’t a Rugby World Cup charter somewhere saying every country taking part is honour-bound to field the very best team they can... well, there damn well ought to be.

Put another way: unless it’s Tiddlywinks or mixed doubles for partners over 80 on your neighbour’s front-lawn, there’s surely an unwritten law stating that sport essentially is a pastime in which those taking part are expected to do their utmost to win. Otherwise, really, what’s the point? Which brings us to AFANA – otherwise known as the Agency for a New Agenda – a recently founded political party clamouring to be heard last week in the Pretoria High Court before Judge Ntendeya Mavundla.

AFANA’s objection to South Africa’s participation in this year’s Rugby World Cup, is based on the fact that Heyneke Meyer’s squad contains, in a team of 31, only eight players of colour. Having originally asked the court to prevent the Springboks from leaving for the UK, AFANA’s application has now urged the court to look into the issue of transformation in South African sport – and in this instance rugby in particular. Judge Mavundla in turning down AFANA’s original request has implored sports administrators to accelerate the debate around transformation. AFANA’s application will be heard next year.

What is it though that AFANA wants? Must SARU agree to, say, 20 in their team of 31, to be of colour with no thought to its best make-up and possibly winning the competition? Do we just blindly comply with AFANA’s demand that the Springbok team’s composition reflect more favourably the demographics of our country? If the answer is “yes” then why even bother to send a team to the tournament? It is surely ability not skin colour that such a prestige competition demands?

AFANA are looking at the issue from a stance that surely is upside down? Yes, choose as many players of colour as possible, who deserve inclusion on merit. But to select the players not on talent but rather on the colour of their skin to suit a political agenda – that’s plain stupid, cockeyed to say the least.

While we’re at it, can AFANA tell us how many white faces have been appearing in the ranks of Bafana Bafana’s national soccer team of late? In soccer our selectors and coaches choose the best players on merit, thus hoping to achieve the best results. That’s logical, surely? It’s also simple arithmetic: there are many more would-be future soccer stars among the non-white races. It is, so to speak, their game.

Let’s just get on with it and play sport – for the love of it in whatever discipline we prefer and make our country proud

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