Female South African cricketers are taken hostage by their own fans over a disagreement

South Africa’s new professional women’s cricket team has already experienced so much adversity that they have stopped counting. The national team was one of four teams to compete at the One-Day International World Cup finals in Australia last week — and one of the four out of the gates went in defeat.

As soon as the news of their disastrous showing hit the streets, hundreds of young women turned up at the cricket stadium in Nelspruit, where they were competing to be the nation’s first professional women’s cricket team. They came from all over the country to take part in what became known as “Girlcott,” a gesture of solidarity that was also intended to send a direct message to the team’s fans. Their plan to wade through the crowds and stream to the pitch ahead of the match, protesting the loss with dance and drumming. But the young women had no way of knowing that two young men, on a mission to extort money from the team, would use social media to organize a campaign that ultimately shut down their plans.

So on Wednesday, coaches from the local women’s college team met with their young stars and herded them on a bus to a remote town in the nation’s diamond-rich Northern Cape. There, the women were told they would receive a new pair of cleats, new socks, and fresh batting whites. An out-of-town director from the national team would also be giving them a month’s worth of pocket money.

“I’ve never felt so neglected as a person in my life before,” said one of the team members, who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals, according to the BBC. The traveling team was also told by the director, who is also her teacher, that they would not be punished for the “boycott.” She made clear that the campaign had “nothing to do with them.”

Read the full story at The Independent.

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