And Yet Another One Impresses


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It is a dream for any child that plays sport to one day represent their country of birth. For many South African sportsmen this is just not possible and it is not as though they aren't good enough either. Some of the top players playing various sports around the world are representing an adoptive country. Many have had to play the 3 years wherever they are to qualify in order to be selected.

This post came about as another South African export scored a double century in his first test match playing for his adopted New Zealand against England at Lords today. Devon Conway was set to be a superstar back home when growing up yet he decided to leave after finding his pathway blocked.

The problem South Africa has today is the transformation policy in sport has gone too far. The Government under Nelson Mandella took power in 1994 and the policies that they started out with are still having a knock on effect today.

These policies were to change the wrongs from the past giving the less fortunate a priority. That was 27 years ago and when are the racial policies going to stop. This is not a level playing field anymore as the teams have a quota system in place.

Imagine your national team or even your club team as they are affected in exactly the same way in South Africa having to select players by skin colour. Currently it is a 7/4 split for black versus white which is going against the reason why sport is played.

Just look around at the rugby teams or cricket teams playing today and there is most likely 2 or 3 players from South Africa in every team. These players have moved after seeing they were looked over for another player leaving them no choice. We are talking about players careers here worth lots of money and not just about a racist system in place.

Rugby Teams with SA Players Around the World

Scotland

WP Nel
Allan Dell
Josh Strauss

Ireland

CJ Stander

Japan

Wimpie van der Walt
Lappies Labuschagne
Kotaro Matsushima
Jean Kleyn

Australia

Dane Haylett-Petty

France

Bernard le Roux
Paul Willemse

Cricket is even worse as there is a huge list of players which is only going to grow bigger and bigger.

This started with Kevin Peterson and went from a trickle into a steady stream.

Jason Roy - England
Tom Curran - England
Keaton Jennings - England
Nick Compton - England
Stuart Meaker - England
Jade Dernbach - England
Marnus Labuschagne - Australia
Glenn Phillips - New Zealand
Devon Conway - New Zealand
Neil Wagner -New Zealand

What we are seeing now is many of the club scouts (France, England and Australia) coming over and watching school sports selecting and signing up the top talent. I watched a school game the other day where both flyhalves were on their way to France to different clubs after their schooling finished.

I think it is great for these youngsters as not only are they being looked after financially but they are not having to deal with politics anymore. Sport selection has to be on merit and never about your race or religion as that sounds just so wrong.

If I was in any of these youngsters shoes right now I would not hesitate as at least you will have a fair crack at playing your sport for your adoptive country. I am actually starting to feel sorry for the French and English youngsters as suddenly the competition for places will only get harder as this becomes a common practice.

Many of my team mates back in the days when I was still playing vanished when professionalism hit rugby. I still remain in contact with some after they found their way to Wales, Scotland and England playing for their adopted countries. I was very tempted but decided against it as I was 27 when that happened and just too big a gamble. 5 years max as a professional sportsmen is not a career unless you go into coaching or refereeing afterwards. No regrets ah well lol.

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I joked to a colleague of mine this afternoon that it was the best Test innings I've seen from a South African since Kevin Pietersen - another one for your list!

All joking aside It's a sad state of affairs to be in and not beneficial to the game of cricket as a whole which needs nations like South Africa to continue to be competitive at the highest level. The one big plus in that regard I guess it that the UK leaving the EU has ended the Kolkap gravy train that so many South Africans (and other Commonwealth nationals) used to jump aboard rather than representing their country.

I agree but it may stop the older established players but not the youngsters. South African Cricket is in such a poor state of health these days there is no hope for them to be competitive. There are a few decent players kicking around but it takes more than 3 to make a decent team. I see ABD decided against coming out of retirement for the T20 World Cup and would love to know the real reason. He was forced to select an injured player when he was skipper instead of Kyle Abbott and funny enough that decision forced Abbott to become a Kolpak player. The injured player was Vernon Philander who then lasted bowling only 4 balls and was all about politicians meddling.

True, the problem now is going to be those who jump ship onto the T20 franchise circuit. That team that South Africa put out against Pakistan just before the IPL started this year was a bit of a joke once the likes of Rabada, de Kock, etc had left to earn there pay day.

Shame about AB not playing but at least he did a fair stint over the years with the national team. International cricket is a tough gig for anyone but for a South African it comes with even more pressures and bull shit which I can't possibly hope to understand.

p.s, even before KP we had Allan Lamb and Robin Smith

Yes I watched Lamb at Newlands the season before he left. There has actually been many more besides the obvious ones. I know Strauss left when he was still young but what about Malan? Plus that wicket keeper I am struggling to remember his name from 5 or 6 years ago.

Matt Prior, Craig Kieswetter? There have been a few!

There is a difference I guess between the likes of Prior or Strauss who moved to the UK when they were very young vs someone like KP, Alan Lamb or Malan who were developed by the South African cricket system and then left. Strauss is ra-ra Radley boy, you don't get more stereotypically English public schoolboy than that!

I've had this debate with many Indian supporters who anytime they get beaten by England will point to the fact that the English team isn't ethnically pure in the same sense as their side. Beyond what that says about the UK as a more open society, I also like to point out that if you want to go far enough back we could probably stake a pretty good claim on ethnic grounds to anyone with the surname Smith, Williamson, Starc, Hazlewood or Cummins. That's gonna be a hell of a Test team when we add those 5 in as well!

Lol. Very true and South Africa also pinches players from other countries. Look at Imran Tahir and for our rugby we stole the "Beast" Tendai Mtawarira from Zimbabwe.

Such an amazing professionalism indeed.... you are doing well

I understand the point of equity and fairness in their policies, but I also feel the best should be selected when it comes down to it - so am just going to sit this one out. Unfortunately those who feel hard-done by these policies will continue to seek greener pastures where they are better appreciated and can prove their mettle.