South Africa strips Under-19 cricketer of captaincy over Gaza protest fears

David Teeger had praised Israeli soldiers fighting in Gaza at an award ceremony for Jewish achievers

By AFP

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Published: Fri 12 Jan 2024, 9:42 PM

Under-19 Cricket World Cup host South Africa said on Friday it has stripped its skipper of the captaincy over fears he could be targeted by protesters over his pro-Israeli views.

David Teeger was cleared of wrongdoing last month after he praised Israeli soldiers fighting in Gaza at an award ceremony for Jewish achievers.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) said it has been advised that protests over the conflict are likely to target the tournament's venues and focus on the teenager, with a risk of "conflict or even violence".

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"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," it said.

Teeger will remain a member of the squad and a new captain will be announced in due course, it added.

In October, Teeger dedicated an award to Israeli soldiers fighting in Gaza, leading to a complaint from a pro-Palestinian group.

The decision to strip him of the captaincy comes as South Africa and Israel are fighting a legal battle before the UN's top court in The Hague.

Pretoria, which has long been a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause, is accusing Israel of "genocide" over its military campaign in Gaza, a charge Israel has angrily dismissed.

South Africa's leading opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, decried Teeger's standing down as "galling", accusing the CSA of "kowtowing to bullies" and failing to protect players' rights to free expression and belief.

The Under-19 World Cup gets underway on January 19.

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