Friday, March 11, 2011

Underthinking International representation

So today I heard on the news that Netball NZ is going to take the governing body to court over Catherine Latu. Apparently the issue is young Catherine played for Samoa at the last World Champs of netball, which was obviously a mistake because only two teams ever win the world champs or any netball tournament for that matter, and neither of them are Samoa.

"Who will win the next World Champs? Heads - Australia, Tails NZ"
Netball has gone from the ridiculous to sensible eligibility rules. It used to be you could wake up one morning and decide you wanted to play for a different country.

"Those Australian uniforms look pretty good, hey? Maybe I will play for them next year."
But these days they require that you stand down to the end of the following world champs so this is basically a four year stand down, which is pretty sensible. Although I am pretty sure in most countries it takes at least 7 years to become a citizen, so if anything it is still too short.

"If we had played netball we could have got these three years ago"
Never having been an elite athlete I don't know what I would do, but I can't really see myself having a burning desire to represent any country except the one of my birth. I mean essentially international sport is saying the best players from my country are better than the players from your country, and that no longer stands if players start country hopping.

"Us South Africans are far superior at cricket than you Eng...ah South Africans"
I mean I guess I understand there are situations where birth isn't the main factor, i.e you moved as a small child, so the country or your birth isn't really where you call home. And that is fine represent the country that you call home.
But the issue I have is when people start wanting to represent two countries, I mean in the Latu case she only played for Samoa because that's where her parents are from, she was born in NZ, she grew up in NZ.

Samoa (Two main Islands)

NZ (Two main Islands) - I get confused too sometimes

The only reason she would have played for Samoa was because it was easier to make the team, so tough bikkies, you chose the easy option live with it, its not a pro contract it is representing a country! You don't just go with the best option at the time.

"I am proud to be representing the fine people of .......Ireland, (You guys are going to give me a lot of money right?) my homeland"
 I sometimes think this idea has been lost in professional sport, representing a country is not to further your career, it is to say I am the best player of my sport in my country and I want to take on the best in other countries.
It seems to me a lot of people just shop around countries see who give them the best deal, which team they can make. I think people who are eligible for two countries should declare which one is there preference and always aim for that. So if Latu's dream was to be a Silver fern, she shouldn't have played a world cup for Samoa, because the Silver ferns didn't pick her and Samoa did.
This is very disrespectful to Samoa, she is pretty much saying thanks for picking me when I wasn't quite the best, now that I am, I am going to leave you behind and play for the Silver ferns because they want me now.

"Yeah I am too cool for you now Samoa"

I mean other sports do it, but the effect is most profound in Netball, since it is always the Silver Ferns, or Australia that are taking the cream. So they will always be the best teams, whereas South Africa, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga will always languish because players will only play for them until they are good enough to make the top teams


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