Experts in foot shooting

Sport24 columnist Tank Lanning (File)
Sport24 columnist Tank Lanning (File)

Why do we keep shooting ourselves in the foot?

Less than two months ago I was suggesting that Boland be given our sixth Super Rugby franchise ahead of the Kings given their recent emergence from a truly catastrophic period that saw the union basically dismantled by nepotism and corruption.

I spoke way too soon!

Alan Zondagh, the man appointed director of rugby at Boland in January, and seemingly making strides with a union that could easily lay claim to being the hotbed of coloured talent in SA, resigned on Tuesday because of “excessive interference by the board and executive".

Two steps forward, three steps back.

We seem to have created this self-perpetuating whirlpool of negativity that is going to require something quite stupendous to halt. As we get one thing right, it ignites a clamour for ownership in order to take the credit, which then leads to an ugly power struggle that inevitably brings it all crashing down again.  

Zondagh, a man I was privileged to play under while representing the WP “B” side, is not only a strongly principled fellow, though, but also has the backbone to go with it. Hence his resignation, rather than sucking up said interference and writing about it in his memoirs.

Unlike former South African Rugby president Oregan Hoskins, who only after departing the scene, chose to hit out at government and politicians for failing in the responsible implementation of transformation.

This after handing Allister Coetzee what he now calls the “poison chalice” given that “the national coach is on a hiding to nothing”!

“You’re going to see more and more ‘players of colour’ thrown in at the deep end because of the government’s requirements and those players, sadly, are going to be embarrassed”, said Hoskins this week.

“It’s all well and good saying that you should transform the national and franchise teams but that’s not going to work, it’s never going to work,” he goes on to say.

Why now? Why not when it counted as the sitting president of SA Rugby?

Well, of course we all know the answer to that one, and let’s be brutally honest here, faced with a bond to pay and an overdue invoice from your kid’s school, what would you have done?

Which says even more about Zondagh as a person.

I wonder how many of us that earn our keep in rugby (and yes, I include myself here), can look ourselves in the mirror every day and say truthfully that we have never ever held our tongues in order to ensure a smoother ride and a paycheck at the end of the month?

We live in sensitive times. Times when people are easily offended. Hence our slide to that awful place I call “PC-Ville”, a place that is so politically correct it knows only the colour beige. A place where the word “nice” prevails on tombstones erected in the local cemetery.

A place so bland that clichés are regarded as big news.

So I applaud Zondagh for his principled stand, and even if after the fact, encourage the likes of Hoskins to have his say on matters not easy to discuss in SA. Sweeping difficult discussions under the carpet for fear of breaking out of “PC-Ville” will get us nowhere.

Let alone anywhere near that “stupendous” event needed to break our so called “self-perpetuating whirlpool of negativity”!

Tank Lanning is a former Western Province prop and vociferous tweeter from @frontrowgrunt.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

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