South Africa has removed U19 captain David Teeger a week before the commencement of a home World Cup following his expressions of support for Israel.
Teeger was slated to captain the host country’s age-group side in the tournament, scheduled to kick off on January 19.
However, Cricket South Africa (CSA) announced on Friday that he has been dismissed from the position, and the organisation is preparing for potential protests surrounding the tournament.
Teeger, who will continue to be a part of the squad as a player, had reportedly dedicated an award he received in October to Jewish soldiers, whom he described as the “true rising stars” amidst Israel’s attacks in Gaza.
“As is the case with all such events, CSA has been receiving regular security and risk updates regarding the World Cup. We have been advised that protests related to the war in Gaza can be anticipated at the venues for the tournament,” CSA said in a statement.
“We have also been advised that they are likely to focus on the position of the SA Under-19 captain, David Teeger and that there is a risk that they could result in conflict or even violence, including between rival groups of protestors.
“CSA has a primary duty to safeguard the interests and safety of all those involved in the World Cup and must accordingly respect the expert advice of those responsible for the safety of participants and spectators.
“In all the circumstances, CSA has decided that David should be relieved of the captaincy for the tournament. This is in the best interests of all the players, the SA U19 team and David himself.”
South Africa took over from Sri Lanka as the host of the U19 men’s World Cup due to the Asian nation being stripped of the hosting rights over government interference in the administration of the sport.
Teeger was honoured as the Rising Star at the ABSA Jewish Achiever Awards ceremony on October 22.
As per the South African Jewish Report, he mentioned in his acceptance speech: “Yes, I’ve been awarded this award, and yes, I am now the rising star, but the true rising stars are the young soldiers in Israel. I’d like to dedicate it to the state of Israel and to every single soldier fighting so that we can live and thrive in the diaspora.”
Pro-Palestine protestors picketed outside the main gate at Newlands in Cape Town before the New Year’s Test between South Africa and India, allegedly questioning Teeger’s selection.