Proteas

Mfuneko Ngam weighs in on Black Lives Matter: Makhaya and I rode in our own kombi

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Mfuneko Ngam
Mfuneko Ngam
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  • Speaking at a School Sport webinar, former Proteas fast bowler Mfuneko Ngam said players of colour were "quiet for far too long".
  • Ngam revealed that he and Makhaya Ntini - the only black players in the Proteas side at that time - would often ride in a "kombi" (minibus) on their own.
  • Ngam played three Test matches for the Proteas from 2001-2002, taking 11 wickets.

Players of colour have been quiet for too long, former Proteas fast bowler Mfuneko Ngam admitted when he spoke about the Black Lives Matter movement on Saturday.

In 2000, Ngam became the second black African Proteas cricketer - the first being Makhaya Ntini - to play Test cricket when he made his debut against New Zealand at Wanderers.

In his third and final Test match for the Proteas, Ngam steered the Proteas to victory against Sri Lanka, taking 6/62 at Newlands. He later picked up a stress fracture in his leg which saw him left out of the side but it was a shoulder injury that forced him to retire in 2007.

Ngam is still the only black African Proteas Test player who comes from a rural area and who completed his formal education in rural schools.

He is the current head coach at Border and has been involved in the development of cricket since retiring from the game.

Some of his coaching credentials include Warriors assistant coach and Nelson Mandela Bay Giants bowling coach.

Speaking at a School Sport: Where Is it Now webinar on Saturday, Ngam revealed that he was one of the 40 former Proteas to support fast bowler Lungi Ngidi's stance on the Black Lives Matter movement.

The movement gained massive traction in South African cricket since Ngidi revealed in July that he would take the matter into the Proteas' dressing room.

Last month, Ntini made headlines when he appeared on SABC's Morning Live and revealed that he often felt lonely throughout his international career.

Ngam, who was Ntini's close friend during his stint with the Proteas, insisted that the loneliness didn't bother him as he was a shy guy.

"I feel like guys have been quiet for so long. I've been quiet. Makhaya has spoken about his loneliness in the Proteas setup ... for me, it didn't bother me," said Ngam.

Ngam said while he was in the Proteas camp, he and Ntini would often have a "kombi" (minibus) to themselves as the only black players in the squad.

"When I got into that national team, it was always myself and Makhaya," Ngam said before highlighting an example of the cultural divisions that existed in the camp during that time. 

"They used to hire like five kombis for the team," Ngam continued. 

"We'd notice that after breakfast, if we went to the ground and if Makhaya was taking or driving the kombi, I'd jump in with him and no one else would come," said the Proteas fast bowler.

"It became the norm to me and I didn't care. We had a kombi to ourselves so we didn't have to worry about [dinner] plans for the night."

After Ntini and Ngam, only seven black African players played Test cricket for the Proteas to date - Monde Zondeki, Thami Tsolekile, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Temba Bavuma, Kagiso Rabada, Andile Phehlukwayo and Ngidi.

Ngam revealed that it was a problem that needed to be addressed and was one of the reasons why he took up coaching.

"It's something that needs to be addressed. We've got youngsters that [are] coming through. Back then, I knew how tough it was and it made me decide to just do what I love to do, which is coaching."

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