Johannesburg - The Highveld Lions have had many heroes in becoming the second Cricket South Africa (CSA) franchise to reach the final of the Karbonn Smart CLT20 after the Warriors in 2010.
Names such as Gulam Bodi, Neil McKenzie, Chris Morris and Aaron Phangiso have dominated the headlines but there has been one unsung hero among them: coach Geoffrey Toyana.
The 38-year-old Toyana, who incidentally shares a birthday with South African batting legend Graeme Pollock, only took charge of the Lions this season and to reach the final of an international franchise event in his first assignment in charge represents an outstanding achievement.
“It has been obvious to all of us and it was reiterated by captain Alviro Petersen at his Media Conference this week that the Lions have achieved their success through team work as much as any individual effort,” commented CSA Acting CEO Jacques Faul. “Geoffrey must get a lot of the credit for this.
“His success off the field along with that of Aaron Phangiso on it has probably made this the most significant couple of weeks for the development of our cricket in disadvantaged areas since Makhaya Ntini and Mfuneko Ngam played together for the Proteas during the 2000/01 season. While Makhaya and Gammie both came from disadvantaged rural areas, Aaron (Soshanguve) and Geoffrey (Soweto) are products of our townships and this is hugely significant for what is potentially South African cricket’s biggest growth area.
“Aaron has been the second leading wicket-taker in the CLT20 to date and tops both the bowling averages and economy rates for those who have played regularly. He has certainly been statistically the leading spin bowler on display in the company of such international stars as the Indian duo of R. Ashwin and Harbhajan Singh.
“It has been a wonderful start to our summer and the CSA family extends its best wishes to both the Lions and the Titans in the final phases of the CLT20 as well as our Proteas test squad which leaves for Australia tomorrow.”