Springboks

WATCH: New sports minister earns Bok stripes

2017-04-11 13:12
Thembelani Nxesi (Gallo)

Cape Town - Say what you want about Fikile Mbalula, nobody could ever question his love of sport. 

Ever since he was named sports minister in 2010, Mbalula has been a passionate fan of all of South Africa's major sporting teams - cricket, rugby and soccer. 

He was always vocal in his support for the Springboks, and will be remembered for his "moer hulle dood" speech ahead of the 2015 Rugby World Cup. 

Now, there is a new sheriff in town. 

Thembelani Nxesi has been unveiled as the country's new sports minister, making the move from minister of public works as part of President Jacob Zuma's controversial cabinet reshuffle. 

The sporting community does not know too much about Nxesi, and they are waiting to see what his stance will be on South Africa's 2023 World Cup bid as well as the identity of the two South African Super Rugby teams to be chopped for the 2018 tournament. 

While he was still in charge, Mbalula had banned the associations in charge of rugby, cricket, netball and athletics from bidding for, or hosting, major sporting events because of a 2015/16 Eminent Persons Group (EPG) report that indicated that those sports had failed in their endeavours to facilitate transformation.  

Mbalula said that the result of the 2016/17 report would determine whether or not those bans were lifted, but that now falls under Nxesi. 

There is a lot to learn about the new minister, but he seemed in good spirits at Monday's launch of the new SuperSport Rugby Challenge in Johannesburg. 

Nxesi said the aim was to turn South Africa into world leaders in rugby once again, and he was given a Bok jersey by SA Rugby president Mark Alexander in a moment that is hopefully the beginning of a healthy relationship. 

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