Archive | July, 2015

Cricketers Lives Show Different South African Sports Paradigm By Cheryl Roberts

28 Jul

Significantly, two South African cricketers, Nico Van Oordt and Clive Rice, have passed away at the same time. Both cricketers are being commemorated and acknowledged by sport in general and the cricket domain.

However, the two cricketers are being remembered by two different sports constituencies within one country.

White cricketer Clive Rice represented everything that was white in South African sport. Until his passing, throughout his illness, Rice hung onto his blinkered views that white cricketers were the best and were selected on merit, that black cricketer players had to be developed until whenever.

The black cricketer, Nico Van Oordt was a non-racial, anti-apartheid sportsperson who never collaborated with or supported apartheid but chose to play sport for freedom.

Clive Rice never said apartheid in society and sport was wrong; he defended white privilege and authority in SA sport, whenever he got an opportunity. Clive Rice was the spokesperson of ‘white merit in SA cricket’. Whenever ‘quotas’ got mentioned, Rice was the media’s main man to call out quotas, talk about its negative implications in Rice’s lens and how black cricketers had to be developed. But Clive Rice the white cricketer, never spoke out about sport’s inequalities created by apartheid. He criticized the apartheid era for SA’s sports isolation and his missing out on an international career. But never did he cry out for atrocities committed by the apartheid system.

Rice got the corporate media coverage and support. He played in rebel cricket tours which broke the international sports boycott of apartheid SA.

Van Oordt was born into a disadvantaged, under-resourced community and he chose a sports life of struggle because freedom of the oppressed was more valuable to him as an oppressed, black South African. Van Oordt was a grassroots and community cricketer from the Tygerberg Cricket Club on the Cape flats. The Ravensmead-based Tygerberg CC is a club that was founded in his mother’s lounge so the boys could play on the field and not aimlessly roam the street.

Until his passing, Van Oordt, together with his legendary cricketer brother, George Van Oordt, was a committed club member. Tygerberg CC is the club which has produced international bowler, Vernon Philander and the only club in SA which, in one playing season, had both the SA woman’s cricketer and men’s cricketer of the year. No other club in SA has achieved this feat. You would always see Nico Van Oordt at club matches when Tygerberg CC played at home or the club hosted a function.

The white cricketer that was Clive Rice never celebrated the non-racial, democratic South Africa, and never was he quoted as having being grateful for liberation from apartheid’s white supremacy attitude and behaviour. Clive Rice never complimented black officials in sport and in cricket. It’s hard to believe that maybe he was just never asked his opinions and views so he could applaud the dawn of the democratic era. Instead, Rice used every media opportunity to criticize black cricketers and officials, and to speak glowingly about the talent of white cricketers. Forget about women in sport because Rice just wasn’t that kind of man to advocate for women in sport; he was after all, a sportsman whose world was all about white men in sport and cricket.

Today and for a long time, the lives of two cricketers will be missed, remembered and accounted for in their cricket communities. Depending on where you played your sport during the apartheid era and how you embraced sport in the democratic era, is how you will remember either cricketer.

For me personally, cricketers like Clive Rice never had my applause or praise; they certainly had my criticism about their white lens, racism, and white privilege privilege. A cricket person like Nico Van Oordt is respected and applauded for his decades of involvement in sport as a volunteer, an unpaid official, community and club member and his contribution to freedom.

I’m sure Nico Van Oordt will rest peacefully forever in his after life; after all his work on earth was abundant. I hope Clive Rice will finally rest forever although he doesn’t have the chance of advancing ‘white privilege and white skin as merit’.

White privilege has lost a proponent and saviour in Clive Rice. Grassroots and community cricket has lost an invaluable, unselfish, dedicated sports official with the passing of Nico Van Oordt.

 clive rice


No More Injustices Against Black Cricketers In SA! By Cheryl Roberts

15 Jul

When talented black African cricketer, Kagiso Rabada bowled his spectacular hat-trick on international debut he demonstrated that black African cricketers must never again be ignored and never again be victims of injustices in South African sport.

I write about victims of injustices because Black African cricketers because for too long, these cricketers  have been done in and given a raw deal over the past decades of South African cricket with non-selection of players and coaches into the national senior men’s team.

Despite black African cricketers displaying their potential at provincial level, they were always considered, through the selection lens of non- black African opinion in cricket, as ‘developing’, ‘not being ready for international play’, ‘needs to be nurtured’. They had to play cricket, waiting to be recognized and watch whilst most playing opportunities went to young white players and some coloured and Indian cricketers, but not black African players.

For over 20 years, I’ve been advocating for black (all players not white) to be recognized and acknowledged as international players. We have watched the battles to get players of colour selected. Along the way some barriers got smashed and some players made it into the national senior team. Very often the players had to struggle to keep their place because, unlike white layers like Jacques Kallis who got so many chances to proves his international caliber, the black players got just one canc. And if they ‘failed’ to bowl, bat or field, they were immediately thought of as ‘not being ready’.

But then, the black players became strong and their cricket prowess surfaced. Then arrived the fast bowling talent of Makhaya Ntini and he just couldn’t be ignored. He got a crack at international play, achieved the bowling figures which saw him become a permanent and full-time international cricketer.

There is a litany of injustices done to black African cricketers in South African cricket when it came to selection of players and coaches. If Cricket south Africa was concentrating on developing cricket, looking for talent, why has it taken so long for black African cricketers to be recognized as international cricketers?  Why are young and emerging white players given so much opportunity to establish themselves and the black cricketer pressurised to do it all on first appearance in the national team?

Already there are some opinions that see young Kagiso Rabada as needing ‘more time’ before he can be selected for Test cricket. It’s a struggle to get black cricketers selected for  Test cricket. Why is Test cricket seen as the holy preserve of white cricketers, whatever their age? And why is it that black cricketers are replaced by another black crickter and black cricketers can’t take the place of other white cricketer when they deserve to be dropped?

Sports federations in SA don’t like criticism or challenges about player representation because they don’t want to be called out for committing injustices. But damnit we must call out the wrong and condemn the injustices.

Get this! There are many emerging talented black African cricketers. They may not prove as spectacular on international debut as Kagiso Rabada but they are damn well out there. No more must South Africa’s black players be sidelined and kept out of the national cricket team. No more must black cricketers be made to feel inferior. A black cricketer, Kagiso Rabada got a chance and he proved his worth, taking a hat- trick of wickets on international debut. SA’s black cricketers have been given a draw deal over the years and never again must a black cricketer be viewed as not being ready because black cricketers are more than ready. They want the same opportunities!

 kagiso rabada

There’s Too Much Wrong In South African Women’s Football!   By Cheryl Roberts

9 Jul


The 2015 edition of the Women’s Football World Cup ended in Canada on Sunday with a triumphant victory for the USA, together with tears for some countries, happiness for improving and debutant playing teams and dreams accomplished for some teams.

A global sports event is supposed to impact on the world with the intention of popularising and growing that sport. The women’s football world cup’s broadcast viewing figures were spectacular with records broken for viewers watching the women’s football teams compete in this global spectacular. A world cup or world championship is also used by the international sports federation to grow the game in countries.

So how does the women’s football world cup impact on our country South Africa, which is yet to participate in a women’s football world cup?

SAFA consistently says they are developing women’s football. How is this being done? When be became SAFA President after the 2010 World Cup,  Danny Jordaan was adamant that women’s football must be officiated by women and the national coach of Banyana Banyana must be a woman. Fair enough. We couldn’t agree more with Danny Jordaan,

The woman coach got appointed; a foreign woman coach because South Africa hadn’t produced qualified, experienced and ‘intelligent’ women football coaches. Women officials were appointed to be in control and charge of women’s football in SA. Of course, the women’s football committee/unit is not independent of SAFA and answers to SAFA’s exco and higher management. Anything that must be done out of office must be signed off by the SAFA CEO.

So here are some questions about the state of women’s football in SA;

. When and where is the women’s professional league? Women footballers are pleading for a professional women’s football league which will allow women footballers to concentrate on football fulltime, as a career and means of earning an income

. Why has the girls 2015 under 13 football been postponed? Whys are preparations for the women’s u20 world cup qualifiers so erratic, without proper planning and implementation for selection and trials.

. Who are the selectors and coaches of the SA under 20 women’s football team, Basetsane? Why are the same selectors of Sheryl Botes, Anna Monate and Desiree Ellis appointed and a few others appointed over and over again? They are not the only women football coaches in SA, yet they are given opportunities galore to coach and select SA’s national women’s football teams. SA football needs women football coaches, the women are willing and want to be coaches. But why is their pathway as coaches being strangled because the same women coaches are being appointed! Where is the coach of the wining under 19 girls IPT team, Marion February? Whys is she not being given a chance to be a national coach and selector? Why are young, emerging women coaches and retiring Banyana Banyana players not being encouraged to work with SA’s youth women footballers?

. This leads me to ask: Is women’s football within SAFA being controlled by a cabal? Seemingly, it is! I want to believe that all involved in women’s football want to see women’s football develop to high levels. But how is women’s football going to achieve high standards when a few women coaches and officials are controlling selection, coaching and appointments?

. How do you explain not one player, from the SA champion club, Cape Town Roses being able to represent SA’s under 20 women’s team? Which selectors have missed these players?

. Why are trials conducted so clandestinely with the football structures not aware of what is going on, with so-called national coaches and selectors not even consulting with provincial and regional club coaches? Why are players emailed at night and told to report for trails the next day as happened with some players in Cape Town? We must understand that sportswomen are concentrating on studies and school, they are writing tests and exams and have to put education first. Trials in sport must be known weeks before.

. Its disgusting how the SA under 20 women’s football team for the Southern African Games in Zimbabwe in December 2014 was represented by players from Gauteng only; this because SAFA apparently had no budget for trials. This excluded all other talented and deserving players from the national team.

There is too much wrong within SAFA’s administration of women’s football. Perhaps its best to stop all international participation until authentic coaching and selection guidelines and principles are adopted, until the cabal stranglehold is broken and until many more people are actively involved in national women’s football selection and coaching.