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South Africa hopes quotas can unearth black stars

cricket Updated: Oct 29, 2013 15:45 IST

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Nearly two decades after the fall of apartheid, South Africa are still struggling to adjust the complexion of teams in the high-profile white-dominated sports of cricket and rugby.

Sporting authorities have reintroduced racial quotas for domestic professional teams in a bid to encourage more black Africans to emerge through the ranks.

The latest to adopt quotas is cricket with the country's six franchises ordered to field at least one black African in each starting line-up.

Teams that field more than one black player will get a cash bonus.

The only black African coach among the domestic professional teams, Geoff Toyana of the Highveld Lions, backs the idea of quotas.

"It's not a bad thing, it's spot-on," Toyana told AFP.

"Hopefully, more players will be exposed and more will play. Hopefully, in the next two to three years we will see a black African batsman playing for South Africa ... or guys like Mangaliso Mosehle (of Titans) might come in as a wicketkeeper.

"You cannot explain that a population of 80 percent black African people cannot produce one Test player -- it doesn't make sense," said Toyana.

But he opposes cash incentives and would prefer that money be used to develop sports in townships.

Cricket officials speak of a "huge drop out" of black African players between under-19 and franchise levels.

"Black African players need to get quality and meaningful opportunities and, therefore, the incentive-based transformation policy was introduced," Corrie van Zyl, general manager of Cricket South Africa (CSA), told AFP.

But the restoration of a quota system, two decades into democracy, is seen by observers as a sign of failure by both sporting administrators and government to develop sport among previously disadvantaged racial groups.