Time for a Revolution

A couple of days ago a young player with a handful of Proteas caps to his credit contacted me to ask what was going on at CSA. When I said I didn’t really know but that I was extremely worried, he asked whether he and his Franchise team mates would still have jobs by the time summer arrived. It was a serious question.

I said I hoped so and that they would certainly have jobs for another year but after that, nobody could be certain. After a pause he said: “That’s exactly what we were been told on the conference call we had last week. I can’t believe it.”

The country’s professional cricketers are the innocent victims of the pernicious, selfish administrators who are grabbing power, stabbing each other in their backs and materially rewarding themselves. There are literally thousands of players, from professionals to club cricketers and school children whose love for the game is being tarnished – possibly extinguished – with every day the malaise continues.

The SA Cricketers Association is currently in the midst of a series of national meetings with the Franchise and provincial players and the feedback has been bleak.

“SACA has engaged directly with players over the past few weeks, and there is a growing realisation amongst players that their careers as professional cricketers are being threatened by the very organisation that should be nurturing them,” said SACA CEO, Andrew Breetzke.

CSA president Chris Nenzani’s sudden resignation three weeks before the CSA AGM at which he was to have been replaced anyway has befuddled most aficionados of South African cricket.

“Mr Nenzani owes all stakeholders an immediate explanation as to why he has stood down a mere three weeks before the CSA AGM, after he had refused to do so over the previous eight-month period despite calls to do so from key stakeholders within the game.  Together with the sudden resignation of Dr Jacques Faul as acting-CEO, one can only deduce that the Board of Directors has yet again reached a level of dysfunctionality that threatens the existence of the game in our country,” Breetzke said.

The reality is, a coup has taken place. It hasn’t gone strictly according to plan – Thabang Moroe’s suspension was never in the script – but his ally, Welsh Gwaza, is now running the show. As company secretary he is almost certainly in a position to ensure that the forensic auditors report never emerges and that the charges against Moroe disappear.

Kugandrie Govender is also a Moroe appointee and, with respect, Cricket South Africa is a very, very large first step into the CEO world. More that one stakeholder has expressed surprised at the appointment. Gwaza and Moroe will, of course, be very close with suggestions and advice.

Another key figure in the new regime is independent director Eugenia Kula-Ameyaw whose intransigent policies as head of transformation have left the organisation’s (mostly black) cricket people bewildered and confused. In just three months since her appointment she has assumed extraordinary influence alongside the power Gwaza commands.

“That is where the power now lies,” said Faul days after his resignation. “Chris realised it as well, that’s why he resigned.”

Nine months ago I first heard the phrase ‘cricket capture’. I thought it was a joke, or at least an exaggerated over-reaction. It wasn’t.

“CSA must show leadership in dealing with the various crises facing the game; the transformation and discrimination crisis that has come to the fore over the past two months; the resumption of domestic and international cricket under COVID-19; the finalisation of the disciplinary matter of the suspended CEO; the forensic investigation; and the forecast deficit which has the potential to financially cripple the game,” Breetzke said.

SACA president, Omphile Ramela, also had some powerful words.

“Instead of facing these crises, CSA is embroiled in destructive politics at Board and Management level.  It is evident that cricket is unable to self-correct. With the CSA AGM looming, the reality is that a number of Affiliates have crises of their own, and it is these structures that provide leadership to CSA. Many of the administrative challenges confronting the game are as a result of administrators failing to adhere to principles of corporate governance. Before we see the total collapse of the game of cricket there needs to be a leadership intervention at Board and Management level that is able to stabilise and transform both the game and the business of cricket.”

Breetzke and Ramela may not have realised it yet, but calls for strong leadership at CSA are futile. Those now in charge do not care about the game or its players. The players need to care about their game and themselves. Administrators can sign cheques, draw up contracts and fly Business Class to attend the final of the IPL. They can pay themselves handsomely and even tell the players how to play the game. They can do everything – except play the game. Only the players can do that.

The time for a revolution is upon us.

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