PATRIOTISM, NATIONALISTIC CHAUVINISM, MILD LEVEL JINGOISM OR JUST PLAIN XENOPHOBIA?
About five years ago the world celebrated the all conquering black and "African" dominated French Football team that won the world cup.
Africans in particular claimed the 2018 World Cup was won by an African team merely because 90 percent of the players were of African origin in one way or the other. Comedian Trevor Noah in particular regaled the influence of the Africans in the French national team. He was almost skinned alive by the French press who refused to see their black footballers for anything other than French citizens fit and proper.
The French didn't see anything wrong fielding up to 10 African players in their national team finals as long as they were competent. We praised the French for not being consumed by petty nationalism. For a country that is 90 percent caucasian, it would have made sense for them to demand quotas in their national team so that it is representative of their racial demographics. But they never did. Holding French citizenship was enough to qualify you to represent their national team; born French, or naturalized French it didn't matter.
The results was winning a world cup and coming second in a subsequent one. In South Africa controversies on racial quotas in a historically white dominated rugby team are normal. At some point the sport courted controversy when fewer blacks were included in the Rugby national team. To this day racial quotas are a divide between competency, nationalism and black representation.
This problem has seemingly surfaced in eSwatini following the publication of photos of the country's cricket team. The national team is dominated by what others see as "non swazis" or what is rudely termed "foreigners".
The French National team. Writer says Africans dominate the French national team.
If the French national team selection logic is to be used in our case then we should celebrate the "foreign looking" national cricket team. If those are Swazis that is enough to qualify them into the national team. If we want to be nuanced then we must ask for the sport to be introduced and supported by the government so that more ethnically Swazi are represented in the team.
Nuance and context therefore everything. You miss it then your analysis becomes pedantic or just plain pedestrian. Cricket to Swazis is like football to our Pakistani, Bangladeshi or even Indian born Swazis. You can rightly make noise about the selection of the cricket team but the truth is that proportionally you may very well find that few ethnically Swazis are exposed to the sport.
The real debate should not be the ethnic or even racial profile of our cricket players. Rather, how can we make cricket a national sport accessible to every Swazi at every village so to produce a national team reflective of our demographics. Otherwise we will end up propping up subtle jingoism and it's nationalistic plus chauvinistic attitudes.