Teich could save the Sharks

Gary Teichmann's return to Kings Park as the new chief could rescue the Sharks from a perilous financial and political situation. Picture: Colleen Dardagan

Gary Teichmann's return to Kings Park as the new chief could rescue the Sharks from a perilous financial and political situation. Picture: Colleen Dardagan

Published Jul 17, 2016


Durban – There is a growing possibility one of KwaZulu-Natal and Sharks rugby’s greatest sons, Gary Teichmann, could return to Kings Park as the new chief to rescue the team from a perilous financial and political situation that is affecting the playing field, be it in Super Rugby or their age group teams, or club or school rugby.

It is understood TV giants SuperSport, a 40percent partner in the Sharks, is concerned about dwindling dividends from Kings Park and have approached Teichmann to do a rescue job.

SuperSport initially asked Titans cricket chief, Jacques Faul, to take on the job but after interviews at the Shark Tank, he said in the media that he was not available.

Yesterday, an e-mail was sent to council members of the KZN Rugby Union asking for an urgent meeting tomorrow, top of the agenda being the selling of 9percent of the Sharks (to SuperSport) which would allow the recapitalisation of debt owed. In other words, the union would be able to write off debt in exchange for shares, and remain the Sharks majority shareholder.

It is well documented that the Sharks did not produce their financials at the AGM held in April, and have still to do so, while high-ranking officials have insisted the union is flush and that the allegedly recalcitrant former chief, Brian van Zyl, has been a mischief-maker alleging their parlous financial situation in the media.

Six weeks ago, the union sent an e-mail to the chairmen of the clubs saying that the second half of the annual grant to the clubs could not be paid due to “financial constraints.”

This was despite union president Graham Mackenzie being quoted in the press as saying the Sharks had no financial concerns and had increased revenue since Van Zyl retired in July 2013.

So are the Sharks financially flush? There have been no financials two months after the AGM, no grants to the clubs, and an urgent meeting called by the union to gain a mandate from the clubs to sell off 9percent of the union’s shares.

A Durban newspaper last week claimed that elements of the hierarchy had been caught conducting a smear campaign against Van Zyl in the media.

The Sharks’ social media officer Chris Micklewood – allegedly acting on behalf of a superior – attempted to get East Coast Radio sports correspondent Gareth Jenkinson to publish a letter on the ECR website slamming Van Zyl… but with Jenkinson’s byline. Jenkinson, a College Rovers rugby player, declined.

A few days later the same letter was published in The Mercury, under the name of Benedict Chanakira, a young Zimbabwean journalist who freelances for various rugby websites.

Chanakira last week admitted he had not written the anti-Van Zyl letter and had been sweet-talked into putting his name to it. He has publicly apologised to Van Zyl, stating he had been naive and was angry he had been manipulated.

Teichmann, on holiday with his family in Portugal and not contactable, is known to be considering the offer but has not yet made up his mind.

Outgoing chief John Smit completes his contract at the end of October.

Yesterday, former teammates of Teichmann’s at the Sharks and Springboks said they were holding thumbs that the 49-year-old would take time from his highly successful business, Teichmann Civils, and rescue the Sharks.

Former Sharks and Springbok hooker John Allan said Teichmann was a man of the “highest integrity” and would give short shrift to anything dodgy at the Sharks.

“Teich will sort out the Sharks,” he said. “He was the best captain I played under, be it my time at Scotland under David Sole or under Francois Pienaar. Gary does not suffer fools gladly, he has no time for bulldust and has a passion for the Sharks.”

Mark Andrews, also a decorated Springbok and Sharks player, said: “Teich would be very capable. He started his own business and has 15 years’ experience in dealing with the politics of operating in Africa. He is a quintessential rugby man with a huge love of the Sharks.

“He understands the frustrations of the average supporter and has the skill set to establish the right structures at the Sharks, which is a complex business,” he added. “As Gary gets older, he has become more direct in his dealings in business. He is not a man for smoke and mirrors. He would be fantastic for the Sharks. I hope they get him on board. He has the respect of all rugby people.”

At the time of going to press, the Sharks had not responded.

– Sunday Tribune

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