Port Elizabeth - The Nelson Mandela Bay Stars made international sporting history on Wednesday when it was announced they would be the first team in the world to carry the name of the greatest South African of them all in the inaugural T20 Global League.
Nelson Mandela had a dream to unite a nation, and the Nelson Mandela Bay Stars have assembled a dream team to honour his name. Team owner Ajay Sethi, a Dubai-based businessman and media entrepreneur, has brought together some of the biggest names in South African cricket.
The Stars will be led by Proteas’ legend Mark Boucher, who will be the head coach. His team will include former Zimbabwean bowler and current national coach of his country Heath Streak (bowling coach) and Warriors coach Malibongwe Maketa (assistant coach). They will be guided by the experienced Goolam Rajah (team director), who spent 20 years with the South African national team.
Makhaya Ntini, a proud son of the Eastern Cape who was discovered playing on the fields of Mdingi, will provide inspiration as an ambassador for the team, along with former Eastern Province legend Graeme Pollock. Ntini was the first black African to play for South Africa, with a combined 656 wickets in 274 Tests and One-Day Internationals for his country. Boucher and Ntini have walked a long path together for South Africa, both making their ODI debuts in the same match against New Zealand in 1998, with the wicketkeeper taking the catch to give Ntini his first international wicket.
The great West Indian, Clive Lloyd, who destroyed bowling with a heavy bat swung by those massive shoulders, will grace the dream team as an ambassador. Rohan Gavaskar, the former Indian cricketer and son of the great Sunil, will come on board as the team’s media director and spokesperson.
“We wanted a team that would be founded with the same values that guided Madiba,” said Sethi. “My thanks to the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality for embracing us with such generosity. For us, this team is about being a big part of the Nelson Mandela Bay community and the Eastern Cape for years to come. We want the Nelson Mandela Bay Stars to be the People’s Team.”
Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Athol Trollip said he believed the Stars had chosen a great management team to lead a side that would bear the name of Madiba.
“When I first met Ajay and they spoke to us about his ideas, I realised we are really blessed,” said Trollip. “We know the honour the name of Nelson Mandela and to have someone like Ajay wanting to invest in our city shows that this city is on the up. We look forward to the journey together.”
“This exactly what we wanted to see - our T20GL franchise owners teaming with the local municipalities and building affinity with the local communities,” said Haroon Lorgat, CEO of Cricket South Africa. “We wish Ajay and the Nelson Mandela Bay Stars all the best with their T20GL campaign.”
The dream team is:
Ajay Sethi - Team Owner
Goolam Rajah - Team Director
Mark Boucher - Head Coach
Malibongwe Maketa - Assistant Coach
Heath Streak - Bowling Coach
Hendrikus Coertzen - Analyst
Evan Speechly - Physiotherapist
Makhaya Ntini - Team Ambassador
Graeme Pollock - Team Ambassador
Clive Lloyd - Team Ambassador
Rohan Gavaskar - Media Director