Netball selections alleged to be influenced by race. 

The Johannesburg Netball Association has been hit with allegations of racism after a Black player was allegedly demoted from the A-team to the B-team in favour of a white player at Wits University on July 31.

Both teams were practising for the SPAR National Championships that started on August 5.

Aphelele Fundama, a 25-year-old Wits alumnus who graduated in 2015, says she was dropped from the A-side with no reason  despite having reportedly succeeded through all the trials.

“All players know that teams can be changed anytime but this happens weeks before the tournament, not suddenly. And it affects you psychologically because you start doubting yourself as to why you were replaced and not other players”, Fundama told Wits Vuvuzela.

The change was witnessed by spectator and friend of Fundama, Olwethu Twalo, who complained to Netball South Africa, Gauteng Netball Association and the Johannesburg Netball Association.

“It is an issue of misconduct, trial processes were not followed correctly and there was a lot of unfairness involved”, Twalo said.

Twalo and Fundama met with members of the various associations at Wits Sturrock Park on August 2 but the coach involved and the other player, whose identity is known to Wits Vuvuzela, were not at the meeting and it is unclear if they had been invited.

According to Twalo, the matter was resolved and the coach in question was issued a warning letter. Attempts to reach the coach for comment were unsuccessful.

Chairperson of the Gauteng Netball Association, Riana Bezuidenhout said “the allegations received were of a serious nature, and the timing was crucial because the synergy and energy of the team was important.” Bezuidenhout declined to comment on the outcome of the meeting of the associations and Twalo.

“We are currently in the middle of national championships, we are in no position to remove any player or coach from their positions”, Bezuidenhout said, but, she added, “It doesn’t matter if the player is in team A or B, they are all treated the same.”

Bezuidenhout said the matter was not off the table and would be revisited pending further investigations.

“There is a need for a serious call for inclusivity and transformation in the sport, where things are done on merit”, Twalo said.

FEATURED IMAGE: The Johannesburg Netball Association upon arrival on day one of the Spar National Championships. Photo: Provided.