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SA Rugby not embracing transformation : Stofile

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Sports and Recreation Minister Makhenkesi Stofile on Tuesday voiced his concern over the slow pace of transformation in South African rugby.


Addressing the National Assembly during his department’s budget vote debate, Stofile said appeals to officials to use the recent success of the SA rugby team in France as a catalyst for transformation had fallen on deaf ears.


“We warned last October that our annexing of the World Cup in Rugby should not be squandered like in 1995. There is no indication that anyone listened.


“Even as the route of honour of the world champions was arranged, it needed political intervention to avoid being a totally elitist affair,” he said.


Stofile also complained about cricket, citing the recent selection of the team to tour Bangladesh and India as proof that there were people opposed to transformation in the sport.


“In the process players were manipulated to make anti-change statements which I am sure they hardly understood as they were not statements from the heart.


“Our players and administrators need to know that transforming sport is not negotiable — it is part of our constitutional mandate and government agenda,” he said.


However the minister conceded that sport in the country had seen some positive developments.


“At the level of school rugby, Grey College in Port Elizabeth has selected young [Bonakele] Bethe to become their first black captain in 150 years. Mr Peter de Villiers became the first black national rugby coach in South Africa since the 19th century. Surely these are some positives in the transformation of things in South Africa,” he said.


On soccer, Stofile said preparations for the 2010 World Cup were on track. He however expressed disappointment over the national soccer team’s performance.


“Our soccer teams have not done well. The spark of brilliance of Bafana Bafana is still not where we want it,” he said.


Sapa – Rugbyweek.com

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