Cricket World Cup 2015

Mbalula denies interference

2015-03-30 16:02
Fkile Mbalula (Gallo Images)

Cricket South Africa CEO Haroon Lorgat has denied that there was political interference from sport minister Fikile Mbalula before the Proteas’ Cricket World Cup semi-final loss to New Zealand in Auckland. Sport24 weigh in. Watch.

Cape Town - Sports minister Fikile Mbalula has denied that he influenced the Proteas to drop Kyle Abbott and pick Vernon Philander in his place for their CWC semi-final match against New Zealand.

Fikile Mbalula said he was responding to accusations made by "a dying breed of political dinosaurs."

He didn't identify the source of the accusations.

"We know who are spreading these speculations and we will not dignify them by mentioning their names," Mbalula said in a statement released over the weekend.

"These are acts of desperate colonial apartheid apologist(s) ... We shall not be deterred by their mischief."

Mbalula's denial was backed up by Cricket South Africa chief executive Haroon Lorgat, who said on Monday in a statement that there was "absolutely no interference" with team selection at the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

"I must tell you that I've never heard any more nonsense than that in all my time as an administrator," Lorgat said.

Philander didn't take a wicket in South Africa's semi-final loss to New Zealand in Auckland and appeared not fully fit.

However, he arrived at the World Cup as a regular member of the bowling line-up and ahead of Abbott in the pecking order before his loss of form and struggles with fitness.

Mbalula noted in a speech at a South African Olympic Committee meeting on Saturday that sport had still failed to redress the balance over two decades after apartheid.

"It is generally accepted that processes to change the face of sport over the past 21 years have been largely ineffective," Mbalula said.

He said various South African sports, including rugby and cricket, would sign agreements next month committing them to "achieving transformation targets."

In a further statement on Monday, Mbalula rubbished the weekend reports linking him with influencing the selection of Philander.

"Team selection for any of our national teams has nothing to do with the minister and the minister had no space to make calls of who must be selected and who should not be selected,"Mbalula said.

He urged all South Africans not to entertain these unfounded allegations and continue to show their support for the Proteas for their excellent performance at the CWC.

Read more on:    csa  |  proteas  |  cwc 2015  |  fikile mbalula  |  cape town  |  cricket

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