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Transformation in Sport – follow up

I wrote a post a few weeks ago on (the lack of) transformation in South African sport. I provided some of my thoughts on the way that the issue has been tackled to date, and what perhaps needs to happen going forward to try and address the issue.

One of the great things about Twitter is that there is a lot of useful information that is passed around. I came across this post (Who are the black players?) written by a gent called Kaunda Ntunja. In it, he addresses the misconception that there are no black rugby players to choose from and he has actually compiled a list of all the black professional rugby players with the 5 South African Super Rugby teams.

The list contains a total of 54 names of black rugby players. Certainly a good starting point for any conversation, but Ntunja makes a valid observation that the only problem is that these players are not always selected by their respective coaches.

Ntunja ends his post by concluding that “the next time someone makes a statement that there are not enough black players to choose from then show them this article….or find a nice way to tell them to piss off”.

Can’t say fairer than that.


About Ticha Pfupajena

I'm beginning to get the sense that my career as a professional footballer may not happen. As a result, I'll try write about football and sports instead....


3 thoughts on “Transformation in Sport – follow up

  1. You wouldn’t happen to still have the list do you?

    Rugby in SA has long been about who you know, which school you went to. This is the reason I did not bother trying out for UCT teams when I was studying there. I had been told by an older cousin who I respected and admired as a very good rugby player, that I would be disregarded before a single practice session had started. He knew because it had happened to him.

    If you did not go to the right school or play for the right coach then you stood little chance of ever making the team. Add to that the historical racial prejudice of rugby in SA and you’ll soon notice the odds stacked up against you.

    Years later, a fella we went to school with and who later went on to play for his University in SA, confirmed this. David “Diva” Wilson re-told a story about how he had Captained his University team (filling in for the regular hooker who was injured) and gone on to score a hat-trick in this match. The very next week he was dropped to the THIRD team.

    Given the scale of top flight rugby in SA I’m surprised that the list only contains 54 players. That is not a lot. It would be interesting to have stats on the number of non-white rugby participants in Junior and Senior schools. The difficulty is making that transition from a junior side to a University or Club side.

    I have said for a long time that quotas at the very top level of the sport are ineffective and actually damaging to the sport. The emphasis should be on quotas at the junior levels. This is where more needs to be done to encourage participation and develop players from all backgrounds. Junior schools, Senior schools and Universities need to do more to encourage diversity and equal opportunity. National sides for junior age groups should have to meet higher quota targets. The way to develop players is to give them opportunities, when they are young!

    Its a tough one. We’d like to believe that talent will always be enough, but the truth is that it doesn’t work like that. And its not only Rugby and its not only in SA.

    A friend of mine has a youngster training with Spurs juniors. He explained to me how parents have to lobby for their kids to get noticed. Its about who you know!

    I don’t have the answer, no one does. But one thing is certain, if it was only about athletic ability and talent then numbers 1 – 15 would be majority Black.

    Posted by Acekicker77 | 23/11/2012, 14:20
    • Some very interesting points Acekicker. I agree with your point about the number of youngsters in primary and secondary school and how there is a drop off when guys get to university.

      Also, you raise a good point about how the number is low at 54 for an entire nation. I think what would be interesting would be to survey what happens in New Zealand – I don’t doubt they probably have their own issues around race (and rugby in particular) but they seem to have more representation at senior levels compared to SA.

      I agree with you on the quota issue at a junior level as I raised in the blog post as well.

      Posted by Ticha Pfupajena | 26/11/2012, 15:00
  2. And if they’re not selected they don’t get the experience which is the excuse the coach will use for them not representing their country!! Tsk! Tsk!

    Posted by Mama T | 11/01/2013, 15:55

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