T20 World Cup

Sundowns coach Mokwena weighs in on De Kock saga: 'He should have taken the knee'

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Quinton de Kock (Getty)
Quinton de Kock (Getty)
  • Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rhulani Mokwena said Proteas wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock should have taken the knee.
  • De Kock's umbrage at taking the knee saw him miss Tuesday's game against the West Indies.
  • Mokwena said the country's past doesn't allow for an individual's beliefs to get in the way of them representing the national team.

Mamelodi Sundowns senior coach Rhulani Mokwena has also weighed into the Quinton de Kock kneeling debate, saying the former Proteas captain should have taken the knee on Tuesday.

Speaking at the pre-match MTN8 final press conference, Mokwena said an individual's personal beliefs have to fall away for the greater good of the nation once they represent the national team.

De Kock's stance against taking the knee saw him miss Tuesday's T20 World Cup Group game against the West Indies that South Africa won by eight wickets, which has occupied sporting headlines in SA.

Sundowns, defending league champions, will be aiming for their first MTN8 title since 2007 when they face Cape Town City at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday.

Mokwena applauded De Kock's humility in apologising but said the country's past has to be acknowledged at all times.

"I think it was not proper for him not to take the knee. However, it takes a person of huge character and humility to admit when he's wrong and kudos to him for doing so," Mokwena said on Thursday.

"Black lives do matter in the space that we live in. We're fully behind that because it'll take a long time for us as a country to move away from this space of segregation.

"The reality is that the country is bigger than everyone and what we've gone through and survived are far greater than ideologies and beliefs."

De Kock has since apologised for his stance and Cricket South Africa, who issued the directive on the morning of the game, have since acknowledged that the timing of their announcement was off.

READ | 5 key takeaways from Quinton de Kock's statement: 'I'm deeply sorry'

Mokwena had acknowledged the sensitivity of the question and how it needs the relevant context for a reasoned answer but said a balance between freedom of speech and choice along with one's sense of national duty needs to be balanced.

"My opinion is that the moment, because of where we are as a country, has the right of speech and the freedom to express what they believe in," Mokwena said

"He could easily say he comes from a background that all lives matter and not just Black Lives Matter.

"Because of where we come from as a country and who we are, as soon as you represent the nation, you have to move away from your own personal beliefs and understand the nation you represent," he continued.

"As a nation that is probably the flagship for democracy and supporting the importance of black culture, it becomes important in that when you're in that space, the ideology and beliefs must be the nation's beliefs."

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