GUMA TAC to invest in Kings

2012-05-18 21:46

Johannesburg - A former potential equity partner of the Golden Lions Rugby Union, the Guma Tac Group, is close to signing a deal with the Eastern Province Kings.

Guma Tac, jointly owned by Robert Gumede and Ivor Ichikowitz, confirmed on Friday it had been in discussions with the Kings, who are likely to replace the Lions in next year's Super Rugby competition, for a number of months.

"We are committed to supporting the Kings rugby franchise, provided Saru [the SA Rugby Union] places them in a position where they are able to compete in Super Rugby and it is not simply a one-year token participation," Ichikowitz said in a statement.

"It is our belief that the Kings have waited long enough and are more than deserving to be given the opportunity to participate in Super Rugby."

The Kings lost to Boland in the final of last year's Currie Cup First Division and failed to reach the playoffs in this season's Vodacom Cup competition.

Guma Tac said it hoped to initiate a high performance structure at the Kings which focussed on developing local talent from villages and townships in the Eastern Cape.

"There are substantial amounts of players participating in Super Rugby that come from the Eastern Cape," Gumede said.

"It is a shame that they have been forced to ply their trade elsewhere.

"This team needs the opportunity to demonstrate their potential.

"We intend to provide this for them."

With Saru having confirmed the Kings' participation in next year's Super Rugby competition, the Lions, lying bottom of the SA conference in the current campaign, look set to face the drop.

Saru has yet to make a decision on next year's structure for the SA conference, with Super Rugby organisers Sanzar having made it clear there is no place for a sixth SA franchise in the 15-team competition.

Guma Tac said a possible investment in the Kings would depend on a guarantee from Saru that the team's participation in the southern hemisphere franchise competition would be extended beyond one season.

With Saru set to make a final decision in July regarding future participation, and with reports suggesting that a possible relegation/promotion system is on the cards, Guma Tac said it was not yet ready to ensure its commitment to the Kings.

"The delay to finalise 2013 and the pending Kings inclusion is creating frustration and putting the Kings in a situation where they may not have enough time to secure quality players and sponsors," Gumede said.

"The value of an investment is in the quality of players attracted to the team.

"One cannot build an elite performance team with contract players entering retirement.

"As equity partners, we hope to attract players who are playing on merit for other franchises to come back to their home team and are committed to supplementing them with South African and international marquee players.

"To achieve this, we would need to be able to offer long term contracts.

"We urge Saru to be decisive on this matter so that we can make a long term commitment.

"The Kings matter has been postponed from 2005 to date.

"Let's stop playing with careers. We all need the clarity." GumaTac said it would only invest in the Kings if Saru could guarantee Super Rugby participation until 2015, after which Sanzar is expected to re-reconsider its current 15-team model.

"Anything short of this will be to the benefit of no one," Gumede said.


  • Arthur - 2012-05-18 23:21

    Oh so when the kings lose every game next year and get kicked out again, you gona do to them what you did to the lions

      Citroes - 2012-05-19 01:15

      Agreed - Gumedi and co doesn't have a bright track record with keeping their promises. That said - all the money in the country isn't going to make the King's competitive next season.

      Koos - 2012-05-19 01:18

      Perhaps Gumede has a point. Can games be won by bribing the officials?

      Marius - 2012-05-19 07:09

      The reason why they dropped the Lions was a business one. They saw quick enough that the Lions management has no business sense or expertise in their ranks, whereas Cheeky Watson and Anele Pemba took over a union that was 7 million in the red and turned it into a profit within 2 years and established a very good rugby academy in the process that has already produced 8 Vodacom Cup players. The Lions on the other hand have no proper youth development structures in place, but 3 million was spent on Butch James who did not even play half a season.

      Sean - 2012-05-22 14:16

      Marius I suggest you google "Lions and Gumede". The split was more than merely a business decision. Early in the negotiations the Lions were looking to move away from Ellis Park to FNB. GumaTec went behind their backs and tried to acquire a controlling interest in FNB. This would mean the company, and not the Union would receive most of the profits from events at the arena. Interestingly enough there are links appearing with the company holding the management contract for the PE stadium!

  • Ruan - 2012-05-19 06:20

    Yes, it is a big shame that the EP guys were forced to play for other provinces because of money. Wonder how many will stay here now.

      Wanderering - 2012-05-19 09:49

      Ruan no amount of money will force players to play for any franchise its a question of choice. Guma TACshould spend their money not only on the mainstream teams, if they are really so hell bent on development then the money should go into the clubs and schools rugby. Look at the schools 7s that is sponsored by @lantic now that is true development.

      patrickjasoncawood - 2012-05-19 10:16

      @ Wandering, The Southern Kings will be playing Super rugby and the prestige and the money that come with is will attract top players. Money will be spent on developing rugby players, which will benefit the Kings, SA Sevens and the Boks in the long run. It's up to SARU and it's millions to develop school and club level rugby

  • Michael - 2012-05-19 06:52

    Well, if the Kings are going to be promoted to the S15 by virtue of political expediency it's a shame and not at all fair. I still believe the Kings or any other of our S15 franchises need to earn the right to be in the competition. The region needs money in their system, a few local competitions to strengten the foundations of the game at club level becuase there are some very good rugby playing schools in the region. The talent needs to be encouraged to stay.

      patrickjasoncawood - 2012-05-19 10:20

      So the Lions deserve to be involved in Super Rugby, give the poor cousin a chance and you may be surprised at what comes out of it. So it's only the current government who wants to see rugby in the EC? I cant think of a better way to develop the game in an area filled with natural talent. If the EP Kings qualify for the Currie Cup next year will you be satisfied?

      Raymond - 2012-05-19 13:15

      @patrick... If only they could qualify. That's not very likely is it? A free ride generates zero self respect.

      patrickjasoncawood - 2012-05-20 12:26

      @ Raymond, lets see at the end of this Currie Cup season and speak again @ Steven, sorry when did the EP Kings play the Lions? They did play the Sharks and Stormers and lost by 15 points.the game you are referring to didnt involve one EP players, rather a bunch of Border and SWD squad players..I can see the EP Kings winning the 1st division this year and then beating the Griquas in the Play offs

  • bruce.chetty.1 - 2012-05-19 07:36

    All praises to Anele and Cheecky on their excellent work.

  • patrickjasoncawood - 2012-05-19 10:25

    This is the news I like waking up to on a Saturday morning eating my cornflakes. Finally some sound financial backers for the EC Early days but I really hope this happens PE needs a local team

      Raymond - 2012-05-19 13:20

      The backing comes with some provisos. If you are in fact in the S15 and will stay there for more than 2 years. Oh yeah, SARU have given the guarantee. Nothiing against the EP Kings, just do not think this is a fair way to manage things. The EP ings do not DESERVE to be promoted two leagues up. If they want it, they must earn it by winning their way up the logs. Cheeky Watson and son are over opinionated and not true sportsmen.

      patrickjasoncawood - 2012-05-20 12:27

      And let me guess you support the Lions who lost again at the w-end and deserve their place at the bottom of the log

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