A proper storm is erupting through the schoolboy rugby world in KwaZulu-Natal, with at least two prominent players found to be drastically over-age for the competitions they’ve been playing in.
While details are sketchy, Sharksworld has managed to confirm from various sources that both former DHS fullback Mbembe Payi and current Glenwood winger Siyabonga Tom are way older than their (clearly falsified) ID books would have you believe. Payi, who represented KZN at Craven Week level in both 2010 and 2011 is believed to be 22, while Tom, a matric pupil this year, is apparently a similar age (if not a year older). With the latter having represented both SA Schools and the Sharks under 19 side last year, despite being (at least) 21 years old at the time, the repercussions could be serious indeed.
Parents and fellow scholars across the school landscape are understandably enraged at the revelation, due to legitimate concerns about the safety risks posed by grown men posing as schoolboy rugby players; what’s more, the feeling is that these ineligible players have taken away valuable opportunities for other players to gain representative honours for their schools and province.
The talk is that these two players may be just the tip of a very large and unpleasant iceberg and we believe that an external firm has been called in to do a thorough background check on all first team rugby players at prominent schools across the province. Questions will obviously be asked of headmasters and sports directors at these schools, because it’s implausible that a widespread fraud of this nature could have been committed without some complicity (or, at best, complacency) from the schools themselves. At the very least, fingers will need to be pointed at the recruitment practices followed by top KZN schools, with little diligence seemingly being done on players recruited, mostly, from schools in the Eastern Cape.
There’ll be far reaching consequences here, of that you can be sure. We’ll keep you updated on what we hear as this sorry tale continues to unfold.Tweet