Race debate resurfaces as S Africa picks rugby squad

As the Springboks prepare for next month's World Cup, their biggest challenge might be achieving racial transformation.

    South Africa's biggest township, Soweto, is officially football territory. But slowly rugby is making inroads.

    The country's national rugby union team, the Springboks, are one of the best teams in the world. However, their recent performances have been overshadowed by criticism that the team does not have enough black players.

    The Springboks won their second World Cup in 2007, with just two black players on the squad. Now as the Boks prepare for next month's championship in England, the race debate has resurfaced.

    The most recent South African squad included just four black players. Heyneke Meyer, the coach, says he selects players based on merit, not colour.

    Still, there are concerns that black players on the team do not get to play enough.

    The South African Rugby Union claims that more than 80 percent of the country's under-18 players are black.

    It says it has a transformation plan in place to have non-whites make up half of its national team by 2019.

    While South Africa makes final preparations for the World Cup, the team's biggest challenge may not be defeating its opponents on the field but instead the task of racial transformation.

    The national squad will be named on Friday, and its racial make-up will be heavily scrutinised.

    Fahmida Miller reports from Johannesburg on the controversy.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Cricket World Cup 2019 Quiz: How many runs can you score?

    Cricket World Cup 2019 Quiz: How many runs can you score?

    Pick your team and answer as many correct questions in three minutes.

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states have launched more than 19,278 air raids across Yemen.

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

    No, it wasn't because of WMDs, democracy or Iraqi oil. The real reason is much more sinister than that.