OPINION | CSA Board needs to GO ... for cricket's sake

2019-12-16 09:06
Vince van der Bijl (Gallo)
Vince van der Bijl (Gallo)

Cape Town - Cricket South Africa (CSA) epitomizes the woes of South Africa in many ways.

The players and fans want SA cricket to be the best in the world. The President and Board want to stay in power. The Board has shown that they do not have the capability of strategizing and playing their role to ensure the future of cricket is on the right track. What they try to do is to hang on to benefits and riches and purport that they are doing a fine job.

Simply, they have not, and have taken CSA, its players, fans and all involved into its current chaotic state.

Ring a bell with other aspects of South Africa?

And now government has summoned them to Parliament and told them to present a turnaround plan - the same people that got us to this point in the first place. Sound familiar?

I was fortunate to work in a print environment for many years – it taught me this: the workers know more about the state of play than the bosses.

When I walked into the print room the machine minders would sometimes say to me, “when are you starting to lay off workers?”

“Why?” I would always reply.

They would then tell me chapter and verse about the output of work, the profitability of that work and the waste levels and downtime over the past month. They knew – and they knew how to fix it.

The current bosses of cricket have no idea, and they do not open themselves up to dissenting and progressive views. They can pontificate all they like, but they know of no way to fix it, as they have demonstrated.

Just a few examples:

- It is well known in cricket circles that Enoch Nkwe is a dedicated and very good coach. To throw him to the wolves in an away series against India, and just before the Proteas' departure to say publicly that the result does not matter, shows the ineptitude and lack of High Performance sport understanding of the CEO, President and Board. Nkwe is a fine coach, just a little inexperienced at International level.

- To state as Thabang Moroe did that CSA alone make the money illustrates the absolute lack of respect for the players and the total lack of understanding of how the sponsorship process works. Arrogance and ignorance are a toxic cocktail. The current Board is both.

Below is an extract from an article I wrote in The Daily Maverick in February 2018:

Speaking with CSA president Chris Nenzani alongside him, acting CEO Moroe said on Wednesday that CSA would be pushing towards plans to dictate to the Proteas what franchise they should play for and to renegotiate the revenue-sharing deal which has been in place with the players for several years.

“We might not even consult SACA. The players are our employees and in the corporate world, when you are an employee, you just get an email saying, ‘this is the new direction, this is the way it’s going to go’.

“There is no room for a union to intervene if CSA decide to go in a different direction. There is nothing to stop us from moving away from revenue-sharing. CSA makes the money for cricket in this country and not the players’ union,” Moroe said in Port Elizabeth.

- For SACA to be cast aside as some meddlesome venomous union was the final straw. When SA cricket was No 1 in all three formats of the game, Tony Irish, as the SACA representative, was a member of the CSA Board. Coincidence? Absolutely not. For the Board and administrators not to respect the players and their chosen representative (SACA) has been disastrous.

CSA has reverted to the medieval feudal state – omnipotence due to the privilege of their position, not their abilities. At least the first of the Board, the Gauteng Board member, has stood down. An example for others to follow.

Enough said – writers, commentators and cricket lovers have said it far more eloquently. None as forceful, however, as Oliver Cromwell when he dismissed the then, Rump Parliament in England in 1653 with the words, "In the name of God, go!"

I will say it more politely. For the sake of cricket in South Africa, resign your positions, right now. Do the right thing - GO!

And let’s be crystal clear. This is not to place the old regime back in charge. Far from it. It is to place people of all nationalities, religions, race and wealth who between them, have a mixture of the following: skills, business acumen, sports management and a genuine love of and a passion for cricket, its players, fans, match officials, scorers, clubs, schools, sponsors and everyone who loves the game. This is at Board and management level. We can and need to make every South African part of the program – just ask people like JP Duminy, Wayne Hendricks, Brad Bing and so many others who work at grassroots.

We all see the amazing potential and genuine love of the game in the poorest of places and are inspired daily. South Africa can reach enormous heights in all areas – give the country hope, equality and opportunity. Its people will do the rest.

As with so most aspects of South Africa, we need Servant Leadership from people who see the future and believe in the will, talent and strength of the people. This will, along with the eagerness of the vast majority to work together for the common good, project cricket, back to the top at all levels of the game.

*Vince van der Bijl was a towering fast bowler for Middlesex, Natal and Transvaal during South Africa's isolation from international cricket. During his prime, he was considered one of the best seamers in the world. 

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