Moosajee calls for a cricket ‘TRC’ to resolve racial divide

Former Proteas team manager Mohammed Moosajee. Picture: Gallo Images

Mohammed Moosajee believes a “healing” process is required for South African cricket to continue moving forward.

A sporting version of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission could be required to amend some of the long-running bias which still exists in the game three decades after unity, according to long-serving Proteas team manager and doctor Mohammed Moosajee.

Moosajee was a fine cricketer who captained the South African Cricket Board version of the SA Schools side and was 23 years old when the sport became unified, yet he never added to his seven first-class caps after the new dispensation arrived.

“In 1992 when unity happened, I was in the prime of my career and part of Transvaal training, but us guys from the SACB clubs only got to bat once the light was going down and there’s no doubt we had to work much harder because there was inherent bias,” Moosajee said in a recent Ahmed Kathrada Foundation webinar on racism in cricket.

“I felt we maybe came back into international cricket too easily. We sacrificed too much to appease the politicians.

“We must understand that prejudice is still very much part and parcel of our country. Some still remains and we can’t just wish it away.

“There is no trust nor healing in cricket and we desperately need our own TRC because cricket is just a microcosm and reflection of a racist society, and our coaches also need to be given a platform because they are the ones who need to foster black excellence.”

Mohammed Moosajee handing Hashim Amla a shirt on behalf of Cricket SA to recognise the top-order batsman’s milestone 100th Test match in 2017. Picture: Gallo Images

Moosajee, now serving on the South African Cricketers’ Association management board, was adamant, however, that the Cricket South Africa board should not be allowed to control any TRC process.

“I am encouraged by the Cricket for Social Justice programme, but we mustn’t forget it was set up by the same CSA who have had a litany of governance issues,” he said.

“If you are having continuous problems in the boardroom then it will impact on the delivery of transformation, so what credibility do CSA have? I will support it if it is run independently and not by CSA. If there is to be any credibility then the current board cannot be involved.”

Previously the longest-serving member of the Proteas staff (from 2003 to the end of last year’s World Cup), Moosajee said South African cricket had nevertheless come a far way from the early days of unity.

“In 2003 when I was appointed team doctor, some of the squad members were uncomfortable not having a white doctor, but it did not bother me at all because they had no choice but to develop that trust. And in my early days as manager – it happened overseas as well, specifically in England and Australia – officials would try and bypass me and go directly to the coach,” he said.

“But after our first culture camp in 2010 we developed an authentic, emotional identity because we considered our fractured past, our history and our diversity. We wanted to use the fact we were the most diverse team in the world as an advantage and it was no surprise in 2012 when we became the first team to be ranked No 1 across all formats.”

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.

today in print