Former and current leading cricket administrators have led the tributes for retiring Western Province Cricket Association (WPCA) CEO Nabeal Dien as he ends his role as a cricket administrator with the Province which has been so close to his heart for 22 years.
READ | Outgoing WP boss Dien fully backs domestic cricket expansion
Dien has served in virtually every capacity for WP Cricket, from Youth, Development, Club, Women, Stadium, Marketing and HR, to the highest elite levels of professionalism.
Former CEO of South African Cricket, Ali Bacher recalls how it all started for Dien and led the tributes:
"When I first met him in the 1990's, he was involved in development cricket in the Western Cape; he was an outstanding administrator in that field. I continued to have some interaction with him throughout the following years and in particular when he became CEO of Western Province Cricket. He is never one to say 'no' if you asked him for assistance and without many knowing, we have interacted on some projects which have benefited development cricket in recent times. He has been an astounding administrator and I believe he will be sorely missed in the Western Cape and I truly hope that he is not permanently lost to cricket in South Africa."
Arnold Bloch, former president of Western Province Cricket, was full of praise for Dien's commitment to the game of cricket and looks back on his rise through the amateur ranks to the top job at Newlands.
"If you look back at Nabeal's caeeer, he has served in a number of capacities. He was introduced to us as our youth chairperson - we didn’t know who he was, but he grew into that position and there was so much respect for him, it was a natural progression as he became the father of WP youth cricket. His commitment and passion was quite amazing and as the years went by, he became more involved in all facets of WP Cricket. When the game split into professional and amateur cricket, he continued to serve with distinction as the head of amateur cricket. His portfolios have overlapped the last few years, but he has always served the game for the benefit of WP and South African cricket. He has always had a major passion for club cricket. It was a great pleasure to have served with someone as him and I truly believe that he ends his tenure as an Icon. We wish him luck."
Former WPCA president and current vice-president of Cricket South Africa (CSA) Beresford Williams paid tribute to his fellow administrator:
"Nabeal was indeed a rock during his time at WPCA and Western Cape Cricket. He always managed to stay calm and reasonable and his ability to never be flustered when dealing with complexities within his realm of responsibility, can only be admired. He would always seek to find resolution and foster relationships to grow the organisation."
Jacques Faul, interim chief executive officer at CSA conveyed his gratitude to one of the longest serving administrators around:
"On behalf of the entire CSA family, I sincerely want to thank Nabeal Dien for his dedication and commitment towards the sport of cricket. His work output and his loyalty to the game over the last two decades has been truly commendable and we all appreciate his immense contribution. Throughout his tenure, at WPCA he has stood out as one of the true administrative captains for the sport and one who has never wavered in his commitment to excellence. For us this is a trait that we will remember him by. I want to take this opportunity to wish Nabeal everything of the very best in his plans and a restful time ahead, full of enjoyment.”
Ameena Smith, WPCA company secretary conveyed her message to Dien on behalf of the WPCA staff members.
"On behalf of the Executive Team and the entire WPCA Staff, thank you for giving us the space to grow as individuals and as future leaders. Thank you for the confidence you showed in allowing us to just get on with it. We will miss the interactions and reflections we had with you. Sadly, today we bid you farewell, so from the Executive Team and our families we wish you well on the next chapter of your adventures including exercising around the proverbial block, enjoying time out with your family which they richly deserve, reading a newspaper, and drinking endless cups of tea with Shameem. Till we meet again ... you understand me?!”
Current WPCA President Advocate Nic Kock concluded by thanking Dien for his service to the game and Western Province Cricket:
"After 22 years of service, Nabeal has become part of the fabric that is WPCA. His passion for youth cricket and his ability to build bridges between communities at a very critical juncture in our history will leave an indelible mark on our association. We are grateful for his long service and wish him well in his retirement."
- Western Province Cricket Association