Looking at Bafana Bafana after they had won the 1996 African Cup of Nations, overseas clubs came flocking in with their cheque books. Players were ready to sign, this provided opportunity for them to represent our country in other world renowned leagues. Some made a name for themselves, BUT in those years, they still came back to play for their country when called upon.
Enter the Millennium, where, SA Football Players, Clubs and SAFA were in an arm wrestle. It became difficult for any Bafana Bafana coach to get the players that he wanted, hence we saw a downward spiral in the Nations most followed sport.
South African Rugby is headed the same direction if we not careful. Rugby players see little to no value of playing at home. Who can blame them? “We’ve created an environment where players can have their cake and eat it” Jake White said in a recent interview with AllOutRugby. Our current status quo, the blame game. All fingers Point at SARU but former Bok Centre, Brendan Venter went on social media and tweeted, “In SA we love to blame SA rugby when we dont get results. Allister. Jurie. Mr Alexander. Fikile Mabule. Maybe blame the real culprits?” He believes that the Rugby Agents are the ones behind the massive player exodus. Could he be right?
No one tends to look at them, they operate in a way where no one sees their work. He carried on, saying, “If this was not about money why not bring out a media report explaining to us all what it was about. The agent manages the player. Tell us.”
The worst part about having to choose players based overseas, is the release clause that binds players to clubs over country and the difficulty in getting players to play for their country when they are tied down by their overseas contracts.
Without deviating much, the crux of the matter is, we are losing players, the Bok jersey is losing value, the public have no faith in the Springboks, these are all the attributes that lead to the Bafana Bafana decline after 19996. Our suits talk about how NZ Rugby has got it right, but we not putting any structures in place to learn what they are doing RIGHT.