Who would want to be a quota?

Earl Rose (Gallo Images)
Earl Rose (Gallo Images)
First off, if I was a player of colour, I wouldn’t want to be chosen in the team ahead of other guys who are better because of the colour of my skin. Or for any other reason besides earning my place through hard work and dedication.

Secondly, rugby is an International, professional sport that is all about winning and, along with that, all about the money. Winning, especially in rugby-mad South Africa, is what matters. And coaches know that, especially National coaches. Of course, Heyneke Meyer wants to be the best coach ever in Springbok history and so he will pick the best squad for the match, in his humble opinion.

And here is where the snag might be. His humble opinion is never going to be the same as yours, mine or Nick Mallett’s. Ever. And there has to be some process whereby the coach names his squad (including his starting XI) and a panel of experts then examine his choices and question his decisions. The panel and the coach(es) then debate and hammer it out and if a player in the current squad can be replaced by a player of colour with equal skill, talent and expertise, then the player should be selected. Using a few of your chosen names as examples, cases could be made for the following players:

Basson/Mvovo/Rhule vs W. Le Roux
de Jongh vs JJ Engelbrecht
Kolisi vs Alberts
Nyakana vs Penalty du Plessis

Nevertheless, in this country, the white (especially Afrikaner) race will usually dominate rugby team selection as they are born and bred into it by their parents, who were raised the same way by their parents, and so on all the way back to the Currie Cup’s humble origins. It’s in their blood, in their genes and they are naturally better at playing rugby.

The same argument can be applied to Bafana Bafana. The African races are naturally better at playing soccer than other races. Do we question this or try and enforce white or Indian player selection through a quota system? No, we don’t. We just accept the fact that the best players have been chosen to do the job, and that job is winning the damn game.

A coach wants to win, a coach wants to get paid, a coach wants to make the public happy, a coach wants to provide for his family. Which of those wants do you think is the least important to him? Or even to you? If you want the coach to pick more players of colour, you have to ensure the players are just as good as any other that would have been chosen. You must work as a team. One man cannot decide because one man will always think of himself first, and the rest next. It’s a natural survival instinct to want to win and be the best.

And if the best happens to be black or coloured, then it’s not even a question of quota anymore but merit.

I wonder if there has been an official poll done in South Africa regarding their views on the quota system? The media always publishes outcries over the lack of black players, but are these outcries official and worthy or are they just from an influential few with media ties? I have to ask.
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