Moments like these are so rare we have to afford ourselves the luxury of an extended toast. We realise only too well that once the bubbly goes flat, it is inevitable that we must face the harsh realities that confront our dysfunctional national sport setup again. Let’s be brutally honest with ourselves.
Take those 10 medals out of the equation, and there isn’t a lot to get excited about. You don’t even have to take your eyes off those very same athletes to begin with. Yes, I’m taking about those much-debated outfits manufactured by some obscure Chinese brand nobody has ever heard of.
I simply do not care what the excuse from our Olympic bosses was for issuing our elite athletes those hideous garments when other countries are proudly displaying windgat outfits made by leading sports brands. Why does this clothing sponsorship have a ring to it that sounds very much like the tune of a dodgy governmental tender? And speaking of smelling a rat, the stench of hypocrisy still very much dwells in my nostrils after seeing Minister of Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalula all smiles in celebrating the great Springbok escape against Argentina in Nelspruit on Saturday.
Wasn’t this the guy who just the other day boldly declared we shouldn’t be allowed to host international rugby tournaments – among others – until transformation had been sped up? Well, has it? If so, he sure as hell hasn’t openly given them the nod of approval since his recent bravado. I counted only five players of colour in the Bok starting lineup, equating to only a third. Surely not enough for the type of demands he was making in April.
Still in a state of utter confusion, I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry when I heard what cricket boss Haroon Lorgat had to say about the condition of the turf that forced the first Test between the Proteas and the Kiwis in Durban being called off. Lorgat didn’t want to comment on the apparent ill-timing of the re-laying of the grass at Kingsmead in June, but opted for excuses such as ‘‘unseasonal rain at this time of year’’ and ‘‘the flood conditions more than a month ago affected the de-compacting process”.
A remarkably similar set of circumstances during the fourth Test between the West Indies and India led to a full-blown investigation into the Queen’s Park Oval’s waterlogged outfield. But bearing in mind it is under Lorgat’s leadership that an inquiry into the Proteas’ poor showing at the World Twenty20 couldn’t even take shape, don’t expect anything more from the latest embarrassment.
Instead of answering questions at all, Lorgat can pretty much humour the media by playing them Shaggy’s It Wasn’t Me every time tough questions come up. It is an art he perfected after the rumoured message scandal during last year’s World Cup in which team selection was meddled with on the eve of the semifinal. This is a skill that rubbed off on our football administrators too.
Every time a new name pops up during the never-ending match-fixing scandal from 2010 or the so-called $10-million bribe in return for votes to host the World Cup, I can hear Shaggy’s famous three words coming up. Thank you Caster and Wayde, along with the rest of the medal winners, for numbing my pain.