Friday, 19 August
Confusion reigns over Madosh Tambwe’s eligibility for the Springboks following differing messages from the two respective camps.
The Bulls winger, who’ll be making his final appearance for the franchise in Saturday’s United Rugby Championship (URC) final before taking up a contract with French club Bordeaux, has been in excellent form during the current campaign and has, unsurprisingly, been touted for higher honours.
But national coach Jacques Nienaber poured cold water on any immediate call-up, simply because – according to SA Rugby’s information – Tambwe hasn’t been granted South African citizenship.
“Madosh is not eligible. He’s not a South African citizen, and until he gets citizenship, we can’t select him,” the Springbok mentor said.
“Same with the two Tshituka brothers, Vince and Emmanuel. There’s a lot of speculation about Madosh and the Tshitukas. The reason why they can’t get selected is because they are not South African citizens. They need to get citizenship.
“I know the Tshitukas are busy with the process – I’m not sure if Madosh is, so that you must find out from the Bulls.”
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Born in Kinshasa, Tambwe looked visibly bemused when informed of the comment during a media opportunity on Tuesday.
“I don’t know about the SA citizenship. All I know is that last week, I was in Ireland with the Bulls team and my passport had the South African coat of arms on it so I don’t know what more to say to that.”
Asked to clarify about having a SA passport, the 24-year-old said: “Yes”.
However, Sport24 understands that while the Bulls aren’t “100% sure” about Tambwe’s status in terms of obtaining official citizenship, he is indeed not eligible for the Springboks currently.
Instead, it seems that Tambwe’s puzzlement has arisen from his official refugee status.
According to South African law, previous foreign nationals who’ve been granted Formal Refugee Recognition – otherwise known as a section 24 permit – are entitled to an identity document and, importantly in this case, a South African refugee travel document.
That would explain Tambwe alluding to a passport with the official coat of arms on it though it’s not a fully-fledged SA one.
Meanwhile, the speedy winger is emphatic that he owes Jake White, the Bulls’ director of rugby, one final starring performance before packing his bags for Europe.
“I’ve got a great relationship with coach Jake, first of all, and when I spoke to him with regards to my move to the Top 14, he understood it,” he said.
“And as much as he has been adamant of me not leaving, I think he’s understood where I come from, and the reason behind it. Just like every good thing comes to an end, unfortunately. But I want to give back to him because he has been a tremendous guy.
“He uplifted my career from when I got here, and the one thing I can do in terms of repaying him is playing my socks off and hopefully playing a role in securing that trophy, and bringing it back to Loftus.”