Johannesburg – Former Proteas manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee refuted claims that he was part of a meeting prior to the 2019 World Cup, where discussions took place about apportioning blame to former Cricket SA CEO Thabang Moroe, should the Proteas fail at the tournament.
Moosajee, who was the national men’s team’s manager from 2008 to 2019, testified before the Social Justice and Nation Building hearings on Wednesday that Moroe’s account of a meeting involving the then Proteas coach Ottis Gibson, senior players and Moosajee, prior to the World Cup, was a fabrication.
In August when Moroe appeared at the hearings he told the Transformation Ombudsman, Adv Dumisa Ntsebeza that a player, who Moroe referred to as ‘Player X’ had informed him about such a meeting where ‘Plan B,’ was discussed. The plan according to Moroe’s testimony was that Moroe would be blamed for the Proteas having a poor World Cup, should that occur.
“I deny that I attended such a meeting, it is ludicrous to suggest that we were planning excuses for not winning the World Cup before the World Cup was even hosted,” Moosajee testified on Wednesday.
Moroe told the SJN that he had informed the CSA Board at the time, about the meeting, but Moosajee said at no point before the World Cup and in subsequent meetings with the Board after the tournament, was the ‘Plan B’ encounter ever raised.
“I respectfully submit, that if Mr Moroe’s version was true, particularly if he had brought it to the knowledge of the then Cricket SA Board, as he claims, they were remiss in not confronting the coaches, me and the players that attended the meeting. If the discussion happened at the time, one would have expected them to discipline and in fact dismiss us at that time, and appointed a new management team and players who had greater integrity,” said Moosajee.
“This seems to me to be nothing more than mischief making, and an attempt by Mr Moroe to play the victim, following his dismissal by Cricket SA for irregular conduct.”
“After the 2019 World Cup, the then coach, captain and I delivered reports to CSA’s board, none of the board members raised the alleged meeting, that Mr Moroe claims he was informed of by a player, and which he disclosed to the board. The fact that the board did not raise it at the meeting where we were delivering our reports suggests to me that this is a fabrication,” Moosajee remarked.
Moroe had testified that the blame he said would be apportioned to him, did in fact materialise after the tournament when it was reported that he had failed to provide the necessary assistance to the side, specifically as it related to organising for the early release of a handful of players from the Indian Premier League that year.
Moroe told the SJN that he’d only been informed a week before that year’s IPL – by Gibson – about him needing to call the Board of Control for Cricket in India to release the four players; Kagiso Rabada, Quinton de Kock, Lungi Ngidi and then captain Faf du Plessis.
Moosajee disputed that testimony, saying the request had first been made in January 2019, with a follow up in February, providing the SJN with documented proof. “Moroe,” said Moosajee, “told the coach that he should leave that issue with (Moroe).”
The matter was raised again, two weeks before the IPL, with Moosajee saying he took it to Moroe personally, “I got the impression that (Moroe) had still not raised the issue with the BCCI.”
As it eventually turned out, the players were only able to return back to SA early after CSA’s medical staff raised concerns. In the case of De Kock, he played in the IPL right until the eve of the national side’s training camp for that tournament.
“These players were not in peak condition during the World Cup.
“It is regrettable that Mr Moroe tried to suggest that he was only allowed one week to secure the release of these four players. This had major consequences for the players at the 2019 World Cup,” said Moosajee.