Cheeky Watson, a mlungu with a plan

2013-03-11 21:16

The Southern Kings currently offer people from the Eastern Cape some hope that the province can rise to be what it was in days gone by.

Before The Southern Kings, all the province had were the EP Elephants and the Border Bulldogs. EP has improved, while the opposite has happened to the Bulldogs.

It’s no secret, the state of sport in the Eastern Cape is depressing. Come to think about it, growing up in Port Elizabeth in the 90s, the only exciting thing one could do on weekends was to go to St George's to watch Kepler Wessels' EP Jumbos. Kepler = LEGEND.

At that time, the Jumbos were hot, but they were in slow decline. There was no football to watch. There was no rugby to watch. If an international rugby match did come to PE, it was in the form of a Test Match against Canada played at the decrepit Boet Erasmus Stadium.

What a depressing sight. Even Currie Cup games were depressing. You’d go to Boet Erasmus, and the most noticeable thing would be the seats and the Castle stand. The emptiness would make you think “what the hell happened here?”

Football wise, there was the terrible Michau Warriors who spent a grand total of ONE season in the top flight before they were relegated and dissolved. And then, a few years ago we had Bay United, who suffered a similar fate.

The only shining light in terms of professional sport in the entire province of the Eastern Cape over the last few years has been the Chevrolet Warriors. They’re a decent cricket outfit and they get in good numbers during games.

Before Cheeky Watson took over as EPRU president, rugby in the Eastern Cape was going south. The British Airways EP Might Elephants -- as they were known then -- were the laughing stock of the entire country. The Mighty Elephants were the whipping boys in the Currie Cup First Division, and there was no light at the end of the tunnel.

Cheeky came in and said he would make sure the region had a Super Rugby franchise. The Spears came, and the Spears went. But, he pushed on and got the Kings. I’m not praising the man because we share an alma marter. The man sets a goal and goes for it. Give him a Bells.

Before the season, people were saying the Kings would be the whipping boys, that the Mandela Bay Stadium would be the equivalent of Tottenham’s Three Point Lane (story for another day). But, they’ve shown that they won’t roll over and play dead after their win against The Force, and their close loss to the men from the Tank.

A few more solid results and the King’s Castle will be a formidable and hostile place to visit. We should not also underestimate the power bums on seats have on players and the way they perform. If you play infront of a crowd of 50 week in, week out, then your game will drop. But, with people watching, your game will soar. Compare the PSL to the English Premiership for instance. PE has been selling out games, and it’s pleasing to see.

If the Kings are good, then an untapped rugby well will suddenly overflow with rich talent that in most years would have gone unnoticed.

A successful Kings side would return the hope that the best sporting talent in the Eastern Cape can be kept in the Eastern Cape. Gone would be the days when you walk in a pub in PE during a rugby match and find just Province and Sharks fans.

The Kings deserve to be there. They deserve to stay there, and they will stay there.

Cheeky is a mlungu with a plan.


AB praises selfless skipper

2010-11-21 18:15

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