'We are way past signing black players to make up numbers'
WATCH as Sharks Chief Executive Officer Eduard Coetzee addresses the vexed issue of transformation.
Sitting next to newly signed Springbok captain Siyamthanda Kolisi, Coetzee dismissed the notion that the loose forward is a ‘transformation asset’.
Despite a host of high-quality black players – headlined by captain Lukhanyo Am and backed up by the likes of Anthony Volmink, Aphelele Fassi, Curwin Bosch, Hyron Andrews, Jaden Hendrikse, Retshegofaditswe Nche, Sanele Nohamba, Sikumbuzo Notshe and Thembelani Bholi – the Sharks boss was not keen on punting their ‘transformation’ credentials.
“We are a proudly South African team,” Coetzee said.
“We have managed to build integrity in our squad.
“I can honestly say if Siya was a white player he would still be sitting here.
“In our squad, we are way past signing black players to make up numbers.
“We believe for a team to perform on the field, as a collective unit, there has to be trust and integrity. That is what we have built in our squad and that is what we will keep on building.”
Coetzee also took a subtle – perhaps unintended – swipe at the Western Province administration, which has been in turmoil for years.
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“I don’t thin Siya Kolisi will come to a franchise that is wobbling, that is maladministered, that has a lack of quality in their coaching staff or in their player corps,” the Sharks boss said.
“It means it is an endorsement that we are [going] in the right direction.”
He added that the Sharks, the losing Currie Cup finalists, have some way to go to reach the standards and lofty goals they have set for themselves.
“It says the Sharks are progressive and positive. It is positive for us to attract the World Cup-winning Springbok captain. Just as positive as it is for us to attract nine or 10 SA Schools players.
“They see a different pathway and they all see a future here.
He said that while the Sharks have invested heavily in their ‘young players’, they are now adding a “little bit of experience and guidance” with the signing of Kolisi.
“Are we going to be one of the most successful franchises for a long time? I really hope so!”