Ex-cricketers upset at Mbalula

Clive Rice (Gallo Images)
Clive Rice (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Two former South African cricketers have lashed out at sports minister Fikile Mbalula after he threatened to withdraw national teams from competing internationally.

Mbalula on the weekend said athletics, cricket, football, netball and rugby are falling behind with transformation and development.

He wants to see 60% black representation in teams and warned of harsh punishment if there was any form of resistance to these measures.

If any resistance was met, Mbalula said, government could withdraw funding to bodies that fail to comply, withdraw national colours to federations holding back, rule that utilising bidding and hosting regulations to be illegal, de-register any body which fails to transform and bar sponsorship to anyone hostile to transformation.

Clive Rice, a former South African captain, said Mbalula's threat is nothing more than election propaganda from the ANC.

"Let him do it with pleasure.

"He is the one supposed to promote and develop sport and now he threatens to penalise our sports teams," Rice told the Beeld website.

"It seems like Mbalula does not understand how failure on the playing field works.

"These politicians have no clue about what happens on the playing field.

"How many promising black players' careers have been ruined by this obsession with quotas?

"It's not about the numbers in a team, but the number of quality players.

"By only picking black players to get the numbers right, you sacrifice quality and it forces those players to play at a level they're not ready for yet.

"You get exposed so easily if you're not good enough for a certain level.

"It ruins a player and then the minister must take responsibility for it.

"Nobody likes being pushed too early and then realise you are out of your depth.

"But let him continue.

"He'll destroy the careers of a lot of black sportsmen," continued Rice.

Ray Jennings, the current SA Under-19 coach and former team-mate of Rice, said players' careers should be carefully managed.

"We had four black players in the SA Under-19 team this year.

"They all have a lot of talent but should be developed systematically.

"You cannot say whether a Kagiso Rabada will be ready to play for South Africa in a year of maybe even five years.

"You can't perform at your best if you're not comfortable with the situation you find yourself in.

"Therefore, it is very dangerous to push players too early.

"At the moment, Cricket South Africa is doing good work developing black players and I feel that process should occur as naturally as possible without putting pressure on it," concluded Jennings.

Jennings recently coached the SA Under-19 team to World Cup success when they beat Pakistan in the final in Dubai.
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