Attention will get focussed on PE,the windy city, one more time this Saturday when the Springboks take on England. But have Port-Elizabeth been the target by the many of us of a kind of vile pond-scum like type of city and province lately or not? The Eastern Cape area has three rugby unions currently:
1.Eastern Province from Port-Elizabeth.
2.Border from East London.
3.South Western Districts who hails from George.
At this moment PE has no top-class rugby union outfit that’s playing in any of the Elite sectors of South African rugby. They pushing “tooth and claw” for trying to get admitted into Super RugbyUnion stardom,but will they get there is the question? Is PE an obvious case of a certain neglect by the select rich and powerful few,South Africa’s dark corner if you will both figuratively and topically speaking?
Why has PE been treated so badly? It’s not just their rugby,but also their football and test cricket aswell.South Africa’s Premier League Football has not had a team in its league from PE since the pernicious Bay United got relegated from the League in the 2008/09 season. The St Georgeâ€™s Park Cricket Ground is South Africa oldest test venue and yet it is no longer a first choice test showcase for test matches and has not hosted a single test match in 5 years at this very moment. Sad indeed that is wouldn’t you agree?
Its not because Port Elizabeth don’t have any raw talent in the area. Rather it seems to be a matter of trying to freeze out a city like PE out of sport altogether and to drain them of what little the city has to offer and use their talented players somewhere else. Do you get the same feeling as that?
Take two examples for instance: Deon Kayser,from Uitenhage,who played 13 test matches for the Boks, and current Springbok player,Keegan Daniel who is from Humansdorp,both had to leave the Eastern Cape.In Daniel’s case even from high school so as to get the recognition he needed that comes with being tied to Provinces in South Africa that have the right structures in place.
It don’t take no rocket science to know that PE can never be a Joburg or Cape Town when it comes to glamour or wealth and it could never be a sporting superpower like Pretoria or Bloemfontein all because it lacks a very real certain criteria and that is:
FINANCES,fullstop.Their is no money in PE where ever you look honestly.Its that simple. No money and certainly no investment or interest to invest. The biggest beneficiary of investment in recent years had been the Durban-based franchise The Sharks. All the while PE was getting poorer by the minute.
However now it looks like South Africa’s Sporting Administrators have been looking at this area and are starting to do something about it. The fact that a Test against England are being played here this weekend tells you something at least for the short term future and that things are being done to address this issue.
Also a mid-week Lions tour match in 2009 and a Tri-Nations match against the All Blacks there in 2011 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium were also good indications things were being done for the faithful rugby lovers from Port-Elizabeth.Granted the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium is no Boet Erasmus ground. It is a much more imposing and gleaming stadium and it has certainly forced its way onto the South African fixture list.
Even the South African leg of the Sevens Rugby tournaments are now being played in PE instead of George,which is its traditional home. Port-Elizabeth,the city,has a rich history we all know that. If some people in power can only realize that and build on that perception. Its not called the friendly city for nothing. People in PE are genuinely goodhearted people by nature,so why should we feel any less of a celebration to include them into the greater scheme of sporting events in South Africa in the future?
3.Deon Kayser www.wikipedia.org