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Propagandists – a new breed in SA sport

by ZwemZa on July 1st, 2016

6 Questions16A

A new breed has seemingly mushroomed in the portals of South Africa’s sporting organisations.


Their function, it would seem, is to portray the various sporting codes in the best possible light irrespective of the consequences and all and sundry that might be evolving around them.

The procedure is widespread, but perhaps most conspicuous among the propagandists at this moment are those connected with the South African Football Association (SAFA) and Tennis South Africa (TSA).

As a glaring example of this was  the reaction of  TSA to the  deflating first-round defeat  at Wimbledon this week of  Kevin Anderson as the nightmarish run of results of the country’s top tennis player continued  against 116th world-ranked Dennis Istomin  – after he had captured the opening two sets!

Anderson’s disturbing defeat means that for the first time in a while South Africa remained without a representative in the second round of either the men’s or women’s singles at Wimbledon.

The hair-raising response of TSA to this sombre situation was to circulate a release under the headline “South Africa well represented at Wimbledon” – a reference to the fact that five South African officials are involved in the backroom work required for the running of the world’s most prestigious and publicised tennis event.

Sport status, however, is determined on what happens on the field or court of play and not by the administrative pen pushers in the background – no matter how competent and dedicated they might be in their work.

SAFA, for their part,  proclaimed South Africa’s success with what was mainly an Under-23 Olympic-bound squad in last week’s COSAFA Cup against  minnow opposition as a major triumph – and as a warning to opponents in Brazil and generally afterwards as to what they can expect.

The 4-1 thumping at the hands of the Japanese Olympic Games team on Wednesday was ascribed to tiredness more than anything else and not to the superiority of the opposition.

Not that tennis and soccer propagandists are alone in viewing matters through rose-tinted spectacles.

The decline in South African rugby is apportioned to the appointment of a new coach – was it not the old coach who was responsible beforehand? – and the assembling of a revised squad.

The All Blacks, in contrast, have been deprived of two of rugby’s all-time icons in Dan Carter and Richie McCaw and still had no trouble in taking Wales apart with their revised team.

While no one doubts the acclaim heaped on South African cricket stalwarts like AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla, it is an undeniable fact that the national team has failed dismally and consistently in achieving success in major competitions.

It was refreshing, in the circumstances, to hear South African Under-23 coach Owen de Gama proclaim that “one should not look for excuses for defeats because it does more harm than good – but rather to take lessons and benefit from them.”

Tell it to the propagandists, Owen!

Sy Lerman

Disclaimer: ZwemZa encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on ZwemZa are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of ZwemZa.

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