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Cricket again accused of racism

Features, Sport
Features, Sport

 … Ya France breaks his silence 

  WINDHOEK – Namibian batsman Pikky Ya France sent shockwaves through domestic cricket when he suddenly pulled out of the national cricket squad that left for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to take part in the International Cricket Board (ICC) Inter-Continental Cup in Sharja, Dubai last week. Ya France, currently the only active cricketer of colour in the domestic cricket setup, dropped a bombshell when he declined an invitation to represent Namibia, saying he has been constantly subjected to unfair treatment by the selectors. Ya France says he is fed up being treated like a second rate citizen in his own country after being been overlooked for the match day squad against the visiting Cape Cobras in Windhoek recently without any justifiable explanation. “I informed coach Doug Watson on Sunday after the match against the Cobras that I had no further desire to travel to Dubai and explained the reasons for my withdrawal. He tried to entice me by saying that my surprise axing had nothing to do with form, but was a mere tactical decision since he was apparently trying out different combinations, but that’s irrelevant,” said a distraught Ya France. An insider echoed Ya France’s sentiments, adding that is a lame excuse since Ya France managed top scores in the opening match and should have been given the nod above other cricketers citing the lukewarm showing of Raymond van Schoor, who made a duck in the opening match but retained his place in the starting eleven. In the first 20-20 match, he also scored highly for the hosts, but he was rewarded with a cameo role as a water carrier for his more celebrated team mates during the final two matches that saw selectors fielding a lily white lineup - very much against the spirit of an earlier undertaking between the Namibian Cricket Board (NCB) and its headline sponsor MTC. Insiders revealed that Ya France is a very unhappy man, complaining bitterly over the constant shoddy treatment meted out to him, adding that he is never given a fair chance to compete and showcase his cricket prowess, while his white team mates are the chief beneficiaries of countless playing time. Sources with intimate knowledge of the maneuverings in Namibian cricket accused the hierarchy of giving preferential treatment to certain players, which they label as something akin to cronyism, deliberately primed to exclude and discourage cricketers of colour from playing cricket. “Its now crystal clear that I have no future in Namibian cricket because as it stands, it looks like that I’m only given a few chances to fail, while others are given countless opportunities to shine. This brings one to conclude that black cricketers in Namibia are only there to carry water cans around the field, while some average white cricketers are going about their business unhindered on the playing field,” charged an irate cricket fan requesting that his identity be withheld for fear of reprisals. He is strongly of the opinion that if athletes are good enough they should be afforded a fair opportunity to feature for their country regardless of race, religion, tribe, culture or gender. Earlier this year during a quadrangular series that involved hosts Namibia, Kenya, the Netherlands and a South African emerging team, Ya France was deservedly named man of the match in the final won by Namibia against Kenya. Serious questions are raised over the selection of certain cricketers who are closely related to influential figures in Namibian cricket. “National coach Doug Watson stands accused of being in the habit of conducting practice sessions for white cricketers, while he was apparently never spotted taking a single cricketer of colour through the paces during such dubious excursions. It is very sad that the coach and his henchmen form a cartel with their paymasters in an attempt to suppress the progress of black cricketers. It is also very unfortunate that all the top earning cricketers on contracts and the best paid positions within Namibian cricket are exclusively reserved for the minority whites, while the blacks are left to pick up the crumbs,” said another disgruntled cricket fan. Earlier this year, MTC and Cricket Namibia both agreed that the tortoise pace of transformation in cricket does not augur well for the progress of the game, leading both parties to agree to the introduction of transformation targets. It was suggested that a minimum of three to four black cricketers should form part of any representative team and should not merely be included in the squad for purposes of window-dressing, but to be accorded active playing time, while at the national team level, a minimum of three to four black players were to be included in the squad with at least two playing actively, while the other two gain experience by observing proceedings from the substitute’s bench. When Namibia played the Cape Cobras, Ya France was the only cricketer of colour in the team. Namibia played two games out of the scheduled three with a racially exclusive squad, disregarding the efforts made by MTC and other stakeholders to transform the game. “This was very embarrassing since the Cape Cobras squad comprised of about 80 percent cricketers of colour on the field if not more.” Attempts to get comment from the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Cricket Namibia Graham McMillan proved futile as his mobile phone went unanswered. By Carlos Kambaekwa  
New Era Reporter
2013-09-23 08:29:28 5 years ago

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