JOHANNESBURG - Former national cricketer Vince van der Bijl has called on Cricket South Africa’s president Chris Nenzani and the organisation’s chief executive, Thabang Moroe to stand down, saying the trust between CSA and its two most important entities - the players and the public - has been broken.
“I do not believe that it is repairable with the current top executives,” Van der Bijl told Independent Media yesterday.
Van der Bijl, a former fast bowler and cricket administrator, said “urgent action” was required to address the malaise that had befallen the sport and CSA recently.
“It is time now for direct action, and it is my considered view that CSA and the Board need to appoint business and cricket executives to run and administer the game. That has been stated time and again in the past,” said Van der Bijl.
“I’ve always believed that all stakeholders in sport are there to support the players and the fans; the product and the clients. Broadcasters and the press are there to showcase the game and the players to the fans and public. Cricket administrators, umpires and sponsors’ marketing teams are there to boost the players, increase the broader participation and fan engagement.
All are a backdrop to the players and the fans. There is a chasm between the current executive and to some degree the Board and the South African Cricketers and the WP Cricket Association, which is disillusioning the public and fan base. That is a recipe for disaster.
“We need a fresh approach, combined with a real purpose to drive this game together forward. We need in Nelson Mandela’s words servant leadership, which is a good start and will drive participation, strength and success. And a feeling of excitement, not gloom.”
Both Saca and the WPCA brought court action against CSA, with the latter winning in its arbitration after CSA had dismissed the entire board and appointed an administrator. CSA lost that case. Saca meanwhile took CSA to court in May this year over the restructuring of the domestic game and what it will mean for South Africa’s players. That case is still ongoing.
While Van der Bijl spoke to Independent Media in purely his personal capacity, he said his decision to speak out now had been influenced by talking to so many people who had a deep understanding and love of cricket and many of the public. “It is not easy to speak out so boldly in public - it is however necessary, I believe,” he said.
“As we sit right now, we have no Director of Cricket, we have an interim coach, no selection panel and on top of that, three experienced and key people, Corrie van Zyl, Clive Eksteen and Nassei Appiah, are not there to give their considered wisdom and advice,” Van der Bijl said of the senior administrative trio who were suspended by Moroe. “We find ourselves in a vacuum, about to go into a series (against England) that I believe we really should win, with our bowling strength.
“I admire Faf du Plessis for holding his ground to support his team and his country through this troubled time. I admire Saca for holding their ground for ensuring the players are properly looked after, and there is transparency in the system regarding finances and dealings with the current administration.”
Van der Bijl said that in the event of both Moroe and Nenzani stepping down, that in the short term an interim chief executive should be appointed. “It’s going to be a slow journey, as there is no easy quick fix,” Van der Bijl said.
“The urgent priority is (to) give the national team the security of feeling supported by experienced people in senior roles. We need to change right now.”