Wednesday, 17 October 2007 04:53

'Black doesn't equal coloured' Featured

Written by Ashfak Mohamed (
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(This article could not have come at a worse time. I've been wrestling with thoughts on who's Black in South Africa and who is Coloured? Should Coloured South Africans identify themselves as being Black or should we retain our Coloured identity as something insular? Then I read what Mr Stofile says...oh well!...3 Cheers for "Bruin" Habana!!!!! - Editor)

Seven black players in the Springbok starting line-up for the 2011 World Cup are not enough, says South African Rugby Union (Saru) Deputy President Mike Stofile.

And the term "black" should not include coloured players, as that could limit the number of opportunities for players of colour. Stofile was responding to a weekend newspaper report that quoted Saru President Oregan Hoskins as saying that there should be a target of selecting seven black players in the Bok starting team for the next World Cup in 2011.

Stofile questioned Hoskins's comments, saying that it was surprising that the Saru president had spoken about picking seven black players in the Bok team, as it was not discussed at last week's President's Council meeting. "I don't know where Oregan comes up with these figures, as it was not discussed," he said.

"We decided at the meeting to get together in September to sort out a plan of action to transform rugby in this country. But having said that, I don't believe seven is enough. I agree with Oregan when he said that there will be plenty of players of colour in the Currie Cup and Super 14. So if that is the case, then how can seven be enough?

"I don't want to give a figure, but I don't agree that there should be seven black players in the team," said Stofile. "We cannot say only seven. And I also think that black should not include coloureds. That would minimise the players of colour's chances of making the team.

"We must be honest with ourselves and realise that there are many different communities out there who play rugby - black, white, coloured, Indian and so forth. If those communities are not represented, then how can we then say that we have transformed rugby?"

Contacted for comment on Sunday night, Hoskins said: "The President's Council did not make a decision to set a target of seven black players for the Bok team in 2011. I had made the suggestion during a discussion about transformation at the President's Council meeting. We spoke about the feeder systems in place and I suggested that we make this a goal for 2011."

'That answer is not good enough'
Stofile said the successful transformation experienced at junior national levels should be replicated in the senior ranks. "We see in the SA Under-19 and Under-21 sides, year after year, that there are nine or 11 players of colour in those teams. Why can't that happen in the Springbok team?

"Every time it is asked why those black players are not coming through the senior ranks into the Springbok team, it is said that they get lost in the system or that they have 'disappeared'. That answer is not good enough. We must conduct an honest audit of where these players have gone to," he said.

"And I think... Saru must conduct a physical inspection at each union and ask, 'where is so-and-so?' We can't just say that they are lost! Only then will we know what has happened to those players. Then we can bring them back into the Saru structures to ensure they come through to the Bok team."

Stofile said the reintroduction of quotas to enforce transformation in rugby could be problematic, as that system had not been implemented with sincerity in the past. "The teams would comply, but they did not fully implement the goals of what quotas were meant to achieve," he said.

"Let's say the quota rule stated that five players of colour had to be in the match 22. We would find that most of them would be on the bench or would not get opportunities to play."

And Stofile was vehement that the push for the transformation of rugby should not begin next year, but on the tour to the UK after the World Cup in late November, where the Boks will face Wales in Cardiff and a Barbarians team at Twickenham in London.

"We do have systems in place, but they are not being implemented by the unions... If we have to change the Saru constitution to make them do it, then so be it."?


(From IOL)