Naka writes letter to Cheetahs fans
Bloemfontein - Outgoing Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske has written a letter to fans after he decided to end his allegiance with Free State rugby.
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Drotske, 44, will step down as coach after the current Super Rugby competition, with Franco Smith taking over as head coach of the Cheetahs in Currie Cup and Super Rugby.
Letter from Naka Drotske - Friday, May 8:
“It is with great thankfulness that I wish to inform you today that this current Super 15 will be my last as coach of the Cheetahs.
“Life is all about opportunities and in March of this year I came along an exceptional business opportunity which I could not turn down. I am partner of a Company who obtained the exclusive manufacturing and distribution rights in Africa of a very unique fire retardant and fire extinguishing product.
“The products are the most technical advanced fire products in the world and are currently patent pending in the USA. We are busy setting up a plant in South Africa and will produce the products locally and will also export worldwide. We believe that this product will change the way fires were prevented and extinguished in the past.
“I have already, after I’ve signed these contracts in April informed Mr Ryno Opperman the chairman of the Cheetahs that this Super 15 will be my last as coach of the Cheetahs.
“It is not ideal to make this announcement in the middle of the current Super 15 season but unfortunately some of the information leaked to the media and the wrong message based on sensation and lies were sent out to the public. This left us with no choice but to make the announcement as early as possible with the correct facts.
“The advantage of the announcement now is it will give the new coach more than enough time to contract his own players for next year and also to sign more players for the upcoming 2015 Currie cup.
“I apologise to my players and management that I could not discuss the situation with them first and that they have to learn about this in the media. We are currently in a bye week and I will explain the situation to them in person when we get together on Monday.
“I’ve been involved in rugby since I can remember and would like to stay involved with the game in some way. I currently consider the option of becoming a player agent to represent players in South Africa.
“In my time as coach of the Cheetahs I have represented the Cheetahs in negotiating more than 300 players’ contracts with all different agents in South Africa. I know the system and this comes naturally to me. I also know all the CEOs and coaches of other franchises in South Africa in person and as a former Super 15 coach I believe they will trust my opinion on the quality of different players.
“I feel there is huge opportunity here as especially younger players often get the wrong advice and make wrong choices with their careers as professional rugby players.
“I would like to thank the Cheetahs. With the exemption of three years when I played in the UK I have been involved with Cheetah rugby since 1988 as a Craven Week player.
Highlights were the 2005 Currie Cup win at Loftus against a very good Bulls side as well as making the play offs of the Super 15 competition in 2013 for the first and only time in the history of Cheetahs rugby.
“I have no regrets and am thankful to the Cheetahs and rugby for what it meant to me. As coach I have learnt valuable lessons of people which will help me a lot in the business world.
“I would have liked to have the opportunity to compete with the same squad of players and the same budget as other franchises over a five-year term. The fact of the matter is this was not meant to be.
“My wish for the future of Cheetahs rugby would be that the public will support the new coach and management team. Super 15 is a very tough competition where a franchise like the Cheetahs have to compete with limited resources. In order for them to be competitive, the supporters, players, management and board of directors all have to support each other and work in the same direction.
“I would like to thank my management team for all the hard work the last nine years. Thank you that we could support each other in good and bad times.
“Lastly I would like to thank my wife Marzanne for all the support. I truly believe that coaching is the second toughest job in the world. The toughest job is without a doubt being the wife of a professional rugby coach. Thank you for supporting me in good and bad results on the rugby field.
“Good luck to Cheetah rugby and the new coach. My advice to him would be to take criticism from who it comes. Since I was a little boy one of my biggest heroes was Dr Danie Craven. One of his legendary sayings was ‘the more I see of people the more I love my dog’ I could never really understand the true meaning of this, until I started coaching. My immediate advice to the new coach would therefore be, get a dog. (-:
“Thank you very much.”