Lions paceman Aya Myoli has spoken out about an alleged racial assault at the hands of Proteas all-rounder Robbie Frylinck.
Myoli, speaking to Sport24‘s Sibusiso Mjikeliso, recalled an incident in 2016 that left him shaken and angry.
Myoli alleges that Frylinck’s anger had its roots in a quota system that stipulated six black players feature in every domestic team.
Myoli, then in his first season of franchise cricket, said Frylinck was consistently being omitted in line with this policy, and things came to a head after a match against Boland while the pair played for KwaZulu-Natal Costal in the domestic three-day competition.
‘During the game, he opened the bowling and I was supposed to come in as first change. But he bowled himself and others throughout; he even bowled spin at some point,’ Myoli recalled.
‘After a while, I went to him to ask what’s going on. “Why aren’t you letting me bowl?” He eventually gave me the ball much later on in the day. But, after two or three overs, he took me out of the attack.
‘We lost the 3-Day game in two days. In the changing room afterwards, Robbie again had a go about black players, speaking nonsense about black players and he said: “The only thing you’re good at is writing letters to CSA.”
‘This was also during the time when black players had written to Cricket SA saying, “Bibs must fall” and “Drinks carriers must fall”, after the Khaya Zondo incident, where he toured India and didn’t play.
‘I then raised my hand and told him this was a very sensitive issue. He kept quiet, but you could see, and even the coach, Roger [Telemachus], could see he had developed a foul attitude.’
Myoli says things ramped up on the bus to the airport following the match.
‘On the bus to the airport, Robbie carried on where he left off, just talking nonsense about black players,’ he said.
‘I replied to him and we had an argument. I told him, “I saw what you did by not letting me bowl. When my child is the captain of a team, he’ll do the same thing to your child.”
‘He got angry and then turned around and punched me. As I was about to fight back, two guys stopped me and tried to calm me down. I was very angry.
‘Then, at the airport, I was still angry and asking him why he punched me. There were police at the airport, who tried to calm the situation down.
‘We checked in without incident, but then when we went to board, I was told I can’t board because I was allegedly threatening someone on the flight. He went to go report that I was the one threatening him. I had to stay behind in Cape Town and couldn’t fly back to Durban. I had to sleep at a friend’s place that night.’
The Dolphins moved fairly quickly to suspend Frylinck, resulting in Myoli abandoning plans to hire a lawyer and draft a letter to CSA.
Frylinck arrived at the hearing, held at former Dolphins CEO Pete de Wet’s office, with a legal representative. This was after De Wet advised Myoli that lawyers were not necessary.
‘I had a friend in Durban who wanted to connect me with a lawyer to represent me on the disciplinary case against Robbie,’ he said.
‘But Pete called me and said, “Listen Aya, there’s no lawyers here. You don’t have to bring your lawyer to this thing, the union is on your side.” Then I told my friend I don’t need a lawyer, we are just going to talk this thing out.
‘When I arrived at the offices for the hearing, I was wearing just jeans and a T-shirt. I saw Robbie in a suit and he came with a lawyer carrying a briefcase. This was after Pete said there was no need for lawyers.
‘I had three teammates of mine who were going to be my witnesses, sitting and waiting at reception with me. Then I asked Pete about the involvement of lawyers, but I didn’t get a straight answer. He just said, “We’re going to sort it out, don’t worry.”
‘I waited at reception the whole time and never entered Pete’s office, while Robbie and his lawyer were in there the whole time. Then they called me in, saying Robbie is ready to apologise and they asked me to drop the police charges.
‘I said “No, I won’t” because he was still lying about the incident and wasn’t apologetic. He was still denying the assault. Pete then said to me, on the side, that they were going to punish him, but I wasn’t going to be privy to the kind of punishment. That was the only time I got into some sort of office conversation with Pete.
‘That same day I flew to Johannesburg for a three-day game in Potchefstroom and I saw on the news that Frylinck has been cleared to play and his suspension was dropped. I was shocked. It was just over a week after the actual incident.’
Myoli left for the Lions immediately after the incident and dropped the charges on the advice of then Lions coach Geoffrey Toyana and a private conversation with Frylinck, who apologised, claiming he ‘was going through a lot’.
Frylinck, speaking through current Dolphins CEO Heinrich Strydom, said: ‘It’s all lies.’
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