'Apologise' for Die Stem

Cape Town - The manager of the London Cup hockey tournament must apologise for playing apartheid anthem "Die Stem" before South Africa's clash with Great Britain, SA Hockey Association chief executive Marissa Langeni said on Wednesday.

Langeni, who was not at the game, was furious with the blunder.

She said the full version of the apartheid-era anthem, "Die Stem", had been played before the game.

"I recorded the match, and I listened to the anthem," Langeni said on Wednesday.

"As far as I'm concerned, that was the full version of "Die Stem", from start to finish.

"I was so shocked I could not even watch the rest (of the game)."

However, while team manager Les Galloway agreed the anthem was not "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika", she said the team had initially decided not to take action as she was not sure if the entire version of the old anthem had been played.

"It was not the full 'Die Stem', but it was not the correct anthem either, it was like a mix. It was bizarre," Galloway said.

"We made them aware of it and they have promised to rectify it."

Langeni said, regardless of what version had been played, it was not the correct rendition, and they had demanded an apology.

"Normally anthems are pre-loaded by the host organisers," Langeni said.

"They know which way to fly the flag and which anthem should be played, and the International Hockey Federation actually has a library with all the anthems, which have been approved.

"If the organisers are not sure, they will ask the visiting federation to bring their own recording, so there's no excuse."

Langeni sent an e-mail to competition manager Steve Catton, attaching the correct version of the anthem.

"We would like to formally place on record in the strongest terms our disappointment as a country for the administrative blunder in playing the old, divisive anthem of an apartheid South Africa," Langeni wrote.

"As a country we watched with disbelief as our team stood through what clearly was a most embarrassing and uncomfortable experience."

She said the incident had "robbed our team of what should have been a moment of pride" and Saha wanted assurance it would not happen again.

South Africa, ranked 12th in the world, were seemingly undeterred and stunned Great Britain, rated fourth, with a 3-1 victory in their opening match of the London Cup.

They were set to face Germany, ranked third in the world, in their next game on Wednesday night.
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