Centurion (South Africa): At least five black players will be in South Africa's World Cup cricket squad of 16 according to United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) president Percy Sonn, the SAPA news agency reported on Wednesday. This follows a controversial decision by cricket authorities to scrap racial quotas aimed at reversing apartheid discrimination.
Sonn declined to clarify whether the inclusion of five black players in the side meant the board had backed down on its decision to drop quotas. "We are not backing down and we are not backing up," he said. Sonn was speaking on Wednesday after a meeting with Sports Minister Ngconde Balfour and the ruling party's youth wing, the African National Congress Youth League, about the decision at the weekend to discard quotas.
The cricket quota system required the inclusion of at least one black player in the national team and of at least four players of colour in the country's 11 provincial sides. The youth league, which supports quotas, threatened on Tuesday to disrupt the 2003 Cricket World Cup following the board's decision. The league has not altered these plans it announced after Wednesday's three-hour meeting in Centurion, about 45 kilometres (28 miles) North of Johannesburg.
The meeting agreed that a ministerial team would be established to investigate an overhaul in cricket in the various provinces and report back within a month. "Our position to disrupt will remain until we have seen that report," said youth league spokesman Khulekani Ntshangase.