South Africa replace U19 cricket captain over pro-Israel comments before World Cup

South Africa have stripped U19 captain David Teeger of his duties a week before the start of a home World Cup after he made comments in support of Israel.

Teeger was set to lead the hosts’ age-group side at the tournament, which begins on 19 January.

However Cricket South Africa (CSA) confirmed that he had been removed from the role on Friday, with the organisation bracing themselves for protests around the tournament that could “result in conflict or even violence, including between rival groups of protestors”.

Teeger, who will remain part of the squad as a player, had reportedly dedicated an award he received in October to Jewish soliders, who he described as the “true rising stars” amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.

“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.”

David Teeger (third from left, bottom row) will be replaced as South Africa U19 captain

South Africa replaced Sri Lanka as the hosts of the U19 men’s World Cup after the Asian nation were stripped in relation to government interference in the running of the sport.

Talented batter Teeger was named the Rising Star at the ABSA Jewish Achiever Awards ceremony on 22 October.

According to the South African Jewish Report, he said 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.”

South Africa will host the 2024 U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup (Getty Images)
South Africa will host the 2024 U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup (Getty Images)

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.

Teeger’s removal comes on the same day that Israel presents its defence at the top court of the United Nations after South Africa accused the nation of genocide.

The court heard on Thursday of “an intent to destroy Gaza” as South African lawyers presented their case.