Columnists 12.1.2018 09:58 am

BBC lands cheap political shots in praising Kagiso Rabada

Kagiso Rabada. (Photo by Petri Oeschger/Gallo Images)

Kagiso Rabada. (Photo by Petri Oeschger/Gallo Images)

Cricket South Africa is hardly a paragon of perfection but calling them ‘untransformed’ is a tad unfair, maybe even ignorant.

It was inevitable that Kagiso Rabada’s jump to the summit of the world Test player rankings would also be dogged by political opportunism.

Earlier this week – rather out of the blue it must be added – the Black Business Council (BBC) sent out a press release congratulating the Proteas star for becoming the youngest No 1 in history.

The usual buzzwords were evident: “employment equity”, “radical economic transformation” and “black excellence”.

Cliched perhaps but what the heck, anyone can (or should be able to) live with that.

But right at the end of the statement, the BBC gets their cheap shot in.

“We call upon Cricket South Africa and other untransformed sporting codes in South Africa to be inspired by Kagiso’s achievement and give more blacks an opportunity and support them accordingly when their form on the sporting fields take a dip.”

It looks innocuous but it’s actually just plain nasty to mention “CSA” and “untransformed” in the same sentence.

After the unexpected hammering they took from then Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula in 2016, who barred them and three other federations from hosting international events due to them missing their transformation targets, CSA have been very aggressive in their efforts.

At franchise level, teams must select a minimum of six non-whites players in every playing XI, of which three must be black African.

The Proteas are expected to pick two per game – though they are judged on a seasonal average.

The merits of CSA’s transformation policies are debatable and warrant a separate discussion but it’s disingenuous of the BCC to call them untransformed.

What quota requirements have done is actually grant some black players more support and opportunities.

The Cobras’ Aviwe Mgijima has become a rock in their middle order.

Burly Sisanda Magala has impressed with his determination and skill at the Warriors and Malusi Siboto is now a Titans stalwart.

It’s not perfect but it’s a start.

The BBC’s ire should really be directed at grassroots level – at government.

Sporting governing bodies can’t carry transformation at schools too.

CSA, for example, have regional hubs to identify promising underprivileged school players and try to get them bursaries at elite schools.

Indeed, Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and Temba Bavuma – the black players in the Test squad – attended private schools.

That’s the unfortunate reality.

CSA and co can’t also be expected to pull public schools out of the mire.

That’s a certain Ministry’s job.

Heinz Schenk: Online Sports Editor.

Heinz Schenk: Online Sports Editor.

Follow Heinz on Twitter: @sportmal

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