A lot has been made this year of quotas and transformations, writes Aldo
We all hate quotas, but the two is not the same thing. Having been a fan of transformation for a long time, I thought I’d put down my thoughts on why we are where we currently are. Many people shout that in 2016, quotas are nothing but a disgrace and I for one agree. But I don’t agree that it is a disgrace that the government is enforcing this.
It is a disgrace that 22 years into our democracy (which is a failed concept, but let’s not go there), we still have not done enough in this country to develop young black talent. The kids are there, the talent and willingness to work is there, what is lacking is the will from inept administrators.
In the past I have been highly critical of SARU in this regard, but that voice has sort of died out, as I realized it is a waste of time. The fact is, that SARU is abusing the Bok and the game, for the money it generates. We can be much better of, and just wouldn’t need quotas, if heavy investment was put towards young black players.
Years ago already, SARU should have set up clubs in black townships (don’t know if that is the PC word to use anymore). Those clubs should have actively promoted rugby in those areas. Games on Saturdays, with players being identified in the local community.
This club would have been fallen under SARU, with a coach being identified to coach the youngsters, a conditioning expert visiting the club once a month (SARU mobile unit would’ve been perfect) and a nutritionist on board to help get the conditioning right.
The fact is, that in most black household in the townships, there isn’t enough money to eat according to a specific diet. I believe that had SARU created these clubs 20 years ago, the sponsors would now be queuing to assist with the expenses of such a club.
Not only would you create a natural interest in the community, but you would have experts at hand to help condition the young boys, get them to a level where they could compete and actually win games. Can you imagine a team from Atteridgeville winning a national club championship? Instead what has happened is that there are annual T-shirt hand outs at an infrequent visit by Bok stars, who half these kids don’t even know.
This is not a far fetched idea and if SARU was interested in developing black talent, we would not need quotas and have a lot of these clubs already up and successful. The money is there and sponsorship’s would also help. This is but only one way to improve transformation in rugby and should be the base of a bottom to top transformation, that would prevent the quota system, which is a top to bottom fix.
Quotas is not the answer, firstly you should only pick the best player available, secondly you lead to the black guy in the team, continuously having to prove himself. You can not live with a constant shadow lurking behind you, that whenever you make a mistake, you’ll be labelled a quota. I don’t know what that feels like, but it must suck.
Another way would be for our national broadcaster to actually govern themselves successfully, so that they get to show rugby matches. Every singly Bok game simply MUST be shown on SABC. This is not negotiable. I a country where more than half of the population cannot afford to eat properly, how the hell can we not show rugby at the national broadcaster?
How the hell do they expect the game to grow, if you effectively exclude 80% of the population from watching the game? Here Multichoice should come to the party as well. It is bloody ridiculous, that you cannot get rugby on one of their cheaper packages, only the most expensive premium package. Talk about milking the cash cow.
They can also sell the rights to SABC, at a low fee, to show the repeat immediately after the match finishes. Yes it is delayed, but at least everyone can watch the game. I cannot get over this. We as a rugby loving nation, effectively cannot share this with our black work colleagues, as a lot of them cannot watch it. I had a colleague, who would always ask me the results after a weekend, as the only way he could watch, was at a guy 2 blocks away from where he stayed.
We are losing out on building interest in our beloved sport and it is quickly leading to a generation that couldn’t care less about the success of rugby. We are heading towards a situation, where we play an African cup against other rugby giants like Nam, to qualify for the World Cup.
This will only change if SARU as a collective, us as the fans and big corporate buys into Transformation. We stay in SA, quotas are a reality, time to get used to it. Until SARU does more, We do more big corporates like Multichoice do more, and the government does more, the status quo will stay and the Boks will become a distant thing of the past.
A sad story of a once proud team, now getting whipped by all comers.