Defend Truth

Opinionista

CSA appoints first female acting CEO — while the cricket crises pile up

mm

Udo Carelse is a broadcaster and content producer with 23 years experience in radio and television. He currently hosts @WeekendView on SAFM radio.

Cricket is rife with more problems than there are days in the week — and it is only mounting.

On Monday 3 August 2020 former acting CEO of Cricket South Africa Jacques Faul sounded a warning — cricket has a deep throat leaking information to the media and placing the livelihoods of 1,000 people employed in the sport at risk. Exactly two weeks later he resigned from his acting post, on the back of CSA president Chris Nenzani doing the same. Detailed reasons for both men’s decisions elude us. 

So who is the deep throat? Who is the master manipulator? Some of it will come to the fore when the sport’s governing body sends an emissary to Parliament’s portfolio committee on Friday. We can only assume a group of officials, acting in their capacities, will be the ones to answer questions around the suspension of former CEO Thabang Moroe and why we are still in the dark about the matter, even though a forensic report into his alleged transgressions is gathering dust.

When the day comes, the de facto puppeteers in the sport will have to think long and hard about their posturing in front of a parliamentary body baying for answers. Installed ahead of time, as acting president until September’s elective AGM, is Beresford Williams. Just last year, former CSA board member Jack Madiseng claimed a conflict of interest on the part of Williams and other board members. His main contention: how could the suspended CEO Moroe have been given enough rope to hang himself with, without the knowledge and oversight of the board and its top structure? 

Faul, in the meantime, has been replaced by another acting official in former head of commercial, Kugandrie Govender. She has become the first woman appointed to the role, acting or otherwise. 

A leap forward for gender equality in women’s month cheapened only by the fact that the chief mate was made captain after the Titanic hit the iceberg. As custodian of the brand, Govender was also part of the power cabal which blacklisted journalists for their reporting on the boardroom fiascos in the game late in 2019. We are still in the dark about how that decision truly came about and who pulled the trigger on cancelling accreditations. Cricket is rife with more crises than there are days in the week and it is only mounting. 

It was England legend Ian Botham who said that cricket is full of theorists who can ruin the game in no time. The administration of the South African game is in ruins and it has happened in little to no time. All we are left with are theories, but the puppeteers will contend it’s for the greater good of the game once the spoils go to the newly elected victors.

Beyond answering questions about the former CEO, there is also the matter of his right-hand man and axed COO Nassai Appiah, legally fighting his dismissal from the organisation, as the man who drew up the cheques Moroe signed. Then there is the issue of Western Province Cricket Association, whose president Nick Kock also resigned at the beginning of August, citing untenable conditions in the wake of a lease agreement needing to be signed for the spiritual home of cricket, Newlands. 

A lease agreement which has been mired in controversy over debt incurred around a multimillion-rand revamp which up until arbitration decided otherwise, led to WPCA being placed under administration by the then Moroe-led CSA. 

Also begging for full clarification is how our T20 world cup semi-final-reaching women’s Proteas had a much-needed tour to England summarily cancelled this week. Covid-19 regulations on international travel and the final say by this country’s minister of sport may have swayed the decision, but did an organisation famously cash-strapped fight hard enough or for that matter present alternative safe travel arrangements? CSA’s statement on the matter merely affirms regret at an opportunity to tour being lost and that the safety of players and support staff remains the prime consideration. 

This must be questioned in the context of the Indian Premier League (IPL) continuing to sign South African men’s players, with team owners in India quoted as saying arrangements are being made to fly those players to the tournament to be held in the UAE next month. If that comes to fruition, Cricket South Africa will be hard pushed to prove the goose and gander equilibrium. We will watch this space closely. Finally, add to all of this the daily social media “dear diary” entries from former black players speaking out on their ill-treatment by the game on the basis of their pigmentation and you have a recipe for unfettered disaster. 

So who will emerge in Parliament on Friday as caretakers of the game, but more importantly, what will the AGM in the first week of September yield?

It was England legend Ian Botham who said that cricket is full of theorists who can ruin the game in no time. The administration of the South African game is in ruins and it has happened in little to no time. All we are left with are theories, but the puppeteers will contend it’s for the greater good of the game once the spoils go to the newly elected victors.

Thank goodness Betway took a major gamble in July by signing a three-year deal as headline event sponsor for the men’s Test and one-day international matches. In its absence, the people pulling the strings would have a much bigger hole to explain away before Parliament than the one pierced straight through the heart of our beloved game. DM

Gallery

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

81% of South African children aged 10 can't read for meaning. You can help by pre-ordering a copy of MavericKids.

For every copy sold we will donate a copy to Gift of The Givers for children in need of reading support.