Players' association comes under sharp scrutiny at cricket transformation hearings

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Ayavuya Myoli in action for the Lions.
Ayavuya Myoli in action for the Lions.
Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images
  • The South African Cricketers' Association came under scrutiny at the Social Justice and Nation-building hearings on Tuesday.
  • This came after Ayavuya Myoli said the trade union didn't support him adequately following his alleged assault by ex-team-mate Robbie Frylinck.
  • Saca since issued an apology to Myoli for not supporting the player throughout the alleged racially charged ordeal.

The South African Cricketers' Association (Saca) came under sharp scrutiny at the Cricket South Africa's (CSA's) Social Justice and Nation-building (SJN) hearings on Tuesday.

This came after former Dolphins pacer Ayavuya Myoli detailed how the trade union failed him when he was allegedly assaulted by former teammate and Protea Robbie Frylinck.

Myoli, who has been playing for the Lions, was allegedly assaulted by Frylinck on the way to the Cape Town International Airport in January 2016 after the KwaZulu-Natal Coastal side had played a CSA Three-Day Cup game against Boland.

Myoli reported the matter to Saca and CSA after reporting it to the then KwaZulu-Natal cricket chief executive officer Pete de Wet, where Myoli said they didn't show enough interest in the matter.

The bowler also laid an assault charge with Durban police at the time, which he later withdrew after Frylinck apologised to him.

"They said they cannot fight for the one side and not help the other one because we are both members of the [players' association]," Myoli said.

"I was told to take it to the [Dolphins] where the CEO will deal with the matter, but it was not dealt with in the right manner and Saca did not get back to me until 2020 when the Black Lives Matter movement came out.

"They apologised for not getting back to me and checking up on me, which I felt was disappointing from their side as a players' union.

"It was disappointing from Saca that they did not offer support since I was a black player. As a union, I felt they should have been there for me and check if the processes were correct. They did not do that.

"I felt that Saca isn't structured to look after the interests of black players and I heard some of the players complaining about the same thing."

Saca CEO Andrew Breetzke confirmed to Sport24 that the organisation had apologised to Myoli for how they handled the alleged Frylinck assault matter.

"We did send Aya a letter of apology because, in discussing issues with him last year, we agreed that management's support of his situation wasn't at the standard of what it should have been," Breetzke said.

"I'm happy to say that and we've had engagements with him on that matter."

Myoli wasn't the first player to take aim at Saca, with former Lions, Knights and Proteas spinner Eddie Leie saying that he also lost faith in the organisation during his testimony on Monday.

Leie credited the organisation for helping him complete his law degree but said they're short-handed in dealing with issues that are specific to black players.

"Even if you tell Saca, it remains the same. They're not going to deal with issues decisively," Leie said.

"They don't understand the plight of black players that come from the township and areas that are riddled with substance abuse.

"They don't know that, nor do they know how to deal with those things. How are they going to know if Eddie is being treated badly? They can just say: 'But Eddie, you have accommodation.'

"It's about whataboutism and there aren't any black people at Saca who can understand. They think that by the virtue of the bursaries that are there, they think that they're helping you."

Breetzke said he hasn't had the time to pore through the testimonies that have taken place this week but said they'll appear at the SJN where they will respond.

"I'm preparing a comprehensive response and I can't provide an individual response to everything that has been said," said Breetzke.

"We need to listen to everything that has been said and respond accordingly. We're not going to shy away from doing so."

Back to the Myoli matter, Frylinck was captain of the team at the time and they had lost that game by seven wickets, from where Myoli said Frylinck moaned about quota players after the game and continued to do so the following day with racial undertones at the Waterfront.

The matter remained the crux of Myoli's testimony where he said he wasn't able to board the flight because of the assault.

After the incident, Frylinck went on to represent the Proteas three T20s in 2017 and 2018.

"He was talking about quotas and he was mentioning players who didn't deserve to play for the Dolphins," Myoli said.

"He mentioned that the likes of Sibonelo Makhanya and Andile Phehlukwayo didn't deserve to play for the Dolphins because of quotas.

"He said, and it was during the 'Bibs Must Fall' time, that the only thing we're good at is writing letters and continued to talk about quotas. I took offence to that.

"I told him on the way to the airport that he wouldn't like it if my kids treated his kids the same way he treated me on the field, from there he got angry and punched me.

"Guys who were on the bus said they saw what had happened and they were on my side."

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