While the Proteas were unlikely to sit in an actual changeroom in the near future due to the Covid-19 pandemic, they did spend last week together at a ‘culture camp’ in Skukuza, which by all accounts was time well spent strengthening the bonds within the team, especially given all the bitterness which characterised the current administration of the game.
“We are in a good space and we were even before the camp, but it was a nice exercise for us to all get together and discuss the way forward. Various things were discussed, whatever people felt they needed to talk about,” one black African Protea told The Citizen.
“The culture camp was good. It was all about the team, and what with everything happening at CSA, that’s all we can focus on.
“There were lots of good, honest chats, and when you’re losing, any issue seems to be magnified. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but the platform is there,” he added, with the SA squad aiming to regain their best form when play resumed.
“Team culture is the big thing and we want to drive that, not just at national level but domestically too.”
Addressing important issues which had been raised by the Black Lives Matter movement, it was the players themselves who had been put in charge of ensuring there was a healthy culture within the side.
That culture was due to play an important role in ensuring that disaffected players felt empowered to speak out without worrying about losing their place in the team.
“Management wanted the players to drive it and nobody was pushed towards having a certain belief,” said another player.
“It’s not about being comfortable in the team but about a player being able to say he feels hard done by. It’s important to have a platform to speak about those things and not be judged.”