by oneafrikan on April 5, 2007
For the hockey players in SA:
SA hockey hit by quotas Sahaâ€™s new transformation policy will enforce strict race selection
Tue, 3 Apr 2007
By Jonathan Cook
THE South African Hockey Association (Saha) executive, under the direction of Saha president Dave Carr and transformation portfolio holder Rory Townsend, have released a policy document to all provinces that is set to turn the game upside down in this country.
Provincial and national managers, coaches and selectors have been advised that, as of March 20 this year, Saha transformation policies have come into effect.
What this means is that for what are considered SA government-backed events, such as the Commonwealth and Olympic Games, national sides will need 50% of the squads of 18 to be â€œplayers of colourâ€ (that is, not white).
For world cups and other international events, the requirement for the SA menâ€™s and womenâ€™s hockey teams is a minimum of six players of colour this year, followed by an increase of one player each succeeding year (for example, seven in 2008) until the transformation policy realises nine players of colour (50%) by 2010.
For all national U21 teams, eight in the squad must be players of colour this year and the next, with nine in 2009 and 2010. For SA U18 squads, the minimum number of players of colour to be selected is eight this year and nine in the following three years.
In provincial teams, the minimum number of players of colour is to be two this year, increasing by one in each succeeding year, culminating in five players of colour by 2010.
Further, fines will be handed to provincial bodies if players do not play for a minimum of 40% of the playing time. This is to be monitored by the managers of provincial teams and handed to the tournament director after each match.
Team management do not escape Sahaâ€™s scrutiny either.
The Saha directive says that there must be one person of colour in every teamâ€™s management this year and the next, with two people of colour in the management teams by 2009 and 2010.
Interestingly, as amateur, cash-strapped hockey teams in this country usually go to tournaments with just two management personnel, there appears to be no space in the planned set-up for the predominantly white coaches and managers who are currently doing the rounds.
The controversial Saha directive is already creating shockwaves in hockey circles around the country.
One prominent white player, who declined to be named when approached by The Witness for fear of jeopardising his future chances, was appalled by Sahaâ€™s move.
â€œThe whole idea is utter madness,â€ he said. â€œWhat is the point of trying to improve my game if I know that half the team will not be picked on ability alone? This sort of approach will sow huge discontent and distrust among players. What message is it sending to black players as well?â€
A top player of colour, who also declined to be named, was equally displeased.
â€œIf I am selected for a provincial or national team, I want to know that it is due to the hard work I have put in, not due to the colour of my skin. How can South African hockey be expected to do well at the Olympic Games and other world-class tournaments if they donâ€™t pick the best possible team, just like every other country does?â€