Johannesburg - Cricket South Africa (CSA) invests a vast sum of R200 million per year in transformation and pipeline strategies to develop domestic players, of which a large part is focused on nurturing talent from previously disadvantaged areas, said Haroon Lorgat, chief executive officer of CSA, in an exclusive interview with www.supersport.com website.
Transformation and quotas were put firmly in the spotlight in April when the minister of sport and recreation, Fikile Mbalula, said he wanted to see 60 % black representation in national teams.
After the meeting of Mbalula and the sports MECs in April 2014, it was reported that new regulations would come into practice where sports teams, including the South African cricket team, who do not field 60% black players will be barred from representing South Africa.
Lorgat said CSA understands the link between between sustainability, growth and transformation and the necessity for these strategic imperatives to be an integral part of everything that is done at CSA.
“We do not view transformation in a narrow sense and hence, on the cricket development front, it would be incorrect to try to separate transformation goals from our broader CSA pipeline strategies or development.
“In this area we invest around R200 million per annum in developing cricketers and naturally a large part of this spend is focused on nurturing talent from previously disadvantaged areas,” he said.
“In addition to the pipeline program, CSA recognises the need for particular initiatives to assist transformation specific goals.
"We therefore set aside additional funds and programs to help us to access talent in previously disadvantaged areas.
“An example of such spend will be the R17 million per annum on the centres of excellence (COE) and the strategic transformation fund of R10 million per annum,” said Lorgat.
An increase by 58 %
The money spent on COE and Hubs will be increased by 58% over the next 12 months as CSA wants to refocus this program as a means to encourage many more black African players in previously disadvantaged areas to remain in the game and to provide the structure that could ensure their progress through the pipeline, said Lorgat.Lorgat hinted that it was almost more important for CSA to grow the game and to ensure a greater pool of South African players than merely redress the moral wrongs of the past.
“While we embrace the moral arguments to right the wrongs of the past through a proper transformation strategy, the greater imperative for CSA is to ensure growth and sustainability of the game for future generations to enjoy,” he said.
“This is clear in the CSA vision, which is to make cricket a truly national sport of winners.
“This means that we want to excel and we want cricket to be supported by the majority of South Africans and available to all who want to play the game,” he said.
Lorgat said 4760 schools are playing KFC Mini Cricket of which 3125 are black schools and circa 2000 are black African schools.
It must be appreciated that Mini Cricket can be played on an open field or a playground whereas the hardball requirements poses a totally different challenge to the 1287 registered ‘black’ schools.
“The cricket facilities at these (black) schools are our biggest challenge with most of these schools relying on local club facilities to play cricket,” added the national CEO.
“We want to increase the number of black schools and thus cricketers playing in “Area leagues” around the HUBS and we also want to increase the number of matches and the quality of the cricket these scholars will play.
“Black schools (around a HUB) that show potential and capacity to play as a school in the mainstream schools league of an Affiliate/Associate will be encouraged and assisted to do so,” said Lorgat.
Research has shown that a large number of our black African Protea players have attended Model C schools.
While that will remain a method of growing the pool of black African cricketers, CSA’s plan seeks to develop a structure where players can remain in their community and progress into the high performance program from there.
Jacques Faul, CEO of The Unlimited Titans, said it is very important to transform, not only because of regulations, but also because of economic reasons “in terms of the emerging market.
“Transformation is essential in order for the game to grow. However, you also need role model and heroes to grow cricket.
“Communities must develop an emotional attachment to the game.
“If we promote transformation responsibly, no South African should feel that he or she cannot represent South Africa. Ultimately, sport is one of the perfect fairy tales.
“Transformation will remain a priority focus for the Northern Cricket Union and The Unlimited Titans.
“Our commitment is reflected in projects such as the Momentum eKasi Cup. This year, we introduced a Club Bash with a target per team and it really worked well,” he added.