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25 Oct 2009 06:48
African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) president Julius Malema said the organisation will campaign for 800m runner Caster Semenya to run “as a girl”.
Malema was speaking at the ANCYL 65th anniversary gala dinner at the Johannesburg Country Club on Saturday night.
The ANCYL dinner honoured Semenya and World Championship medallists Khotso Mokoena and Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, with a number of political heavyweights, like Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Matthews Phosa, attending.
“When we speak on Caster’s behalf, it is not about her, it is about the treatment young women get, especially in rural environments. People look down on them,” he said.
A charismatic Malema lambasted the “foreign-owned” media for writing negatively around Semenya.
“We must defeat foreign-owned media that want to divert us from celebrating this victory.”
Referring to the Star newspaper, he said the reason why the newspaper writes negatively around the ANCYL is because it has no interest in South Africa.
“They are not from here, they don’t care,” he said, referring to the newspaper’s Irish ownership.
“Don’t talk about press freedom and all that.”
Malema, who jokingly called the government a sub-committee of the ANCYL, also said he believes Bafana Bafana’s coach should be a South African.
“The new leadership of Safa should give recognition to African leadership in sports,” he said.
Backing for Bafana
Meanwhile, at the same dinner, President Jacob Zuma called on South Africa to back Bafana Bafana for the 2010 World Cup. The president said “if we don’t have Bafana Bafana, we have nothing, so we have to encourage them”.
“Bafana will make us proud,” he said. “Bafana will demonstrate that we are a soccer nation.”
Zuma said that it was South African’s fault that the national soccer team has become so weak.
“We are responsible for what happened to Bafana Bafana. We love winning and hate losing and we sack the coaches when we lose. We cannot change a coach so much and think we are going to win.”
Zuma said he personally would prefer that the national coach to come from South Africa.
“We have coaches in South Africa, we could choose any one of them,” he said.
Zuma honoured Semenya—winner of the 800m World Championship in Berlin recently—Mokoena and Mulaudzi.
He also honoured athletes in other sporting codes such as the Springboks, the national cricket team, the Paralympic games team and the deaf Olympics team.
“Their successes inspire not only the youth, but the nation, and for that we salute them,” he said.—Sapa
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