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Ken Borland

Warriors coach Maketa meeting those great expectations 0

Posted on June 23, 2017 by Ken


Malibongwe Maketa is spending the winter as the head coach of the national academy at the CSA Centre of Excellence at the University of Pretoria, but the Warriors mentor is already thinking ahead to how he will handle the greater expectation that their excellent performances at franchise level have created for the Eastern Cape side.

In his second full season in charge, Maketa led the Warriors to both limited-overs finals and they were strongly in contention through the first five rounds of the Sunfoil Series as well, before losing their last three matches to finish last.

“It’s a great honour to be entrusted with such great talent at the academy, and as a group we’re going to commit to world-class standards. As a coach, I’m going to learn and grow as we try and keep South Africa as the number one cricketing nation. It should be the most memorable three months.

“I am happy with the progress the Warriors made last season, their hard work was rewarded. But the true test comes now because the supporters will expect us to box in that weight division from now on. As much as people say we don’t have any big names, we have a lot of very intelligent players and that is a big part of our success,” Maketa told Saturday Citizen at the CSA Centre of Excellence.

Many South African sports treat their up-and-coming coaches with almost criminal neglect, but it seems CSA certainly have a plan for Maketa, and his stint in charge of the academy is indicative of that. How does the 36-year-old see his own career pathway?

“I believe I’ve really grown as a coach. The players are also looking to grow and I’ve set barriers for them to get over, in a way I have to keep up with their growth. I enjoy all aspects of coaching, you have to give the players a lot of reassurance. If you don’t want to get better as a coach then you must not do this, because it’s about personal development, you want to see your players going up to the representative teams.

“I also want to go to higher levels as a coach, which means internationally, but the main thing is building relationships with the players. They must have enough trust that they know I am doing what is best for them,” Maketa said.

Nollis is not going anywhere – Van Graan 0

Posted on May 02, 2017 by Ken


Nollis Marais is the Bulls’ head coach and is not going anywhere – at least in the short-term – franchise CEO Barend van Graan confirmed on Thursday.

Pressure is mounting on the Bulls and their management, with their poor results – just one win from six matches – dragging them into the discussion about which two South African franchises should get the chop for next year’s Super Rugby competition.

But Van Graan said on Thursday that as disappointing as the results have been, the franchise is requesting their supporters to be patient and the administration will not resort to any kneejerk reactions.

“We’ve got a head coach, Nollis Marais, and he has our support. But we have had serious talks with the coach, some of the coaching team and some players. I must stress that we are all as disappointed as the fans with the results. But I can’t promise anything about this weekend except that we will try our hardest to enhance our performance,” Van Graan said at Loftus Versfeld on Thursday.

Apart from their on-field struggles, the Bulls have also been in the news for supposed financial difficulties. Van Graan admitted that there is pressure on their finances but certainly not to the extent suggested by weekend reports, which he described as “mistaken”.

“In last year’s annual report I said we are under pressure and when you manage a business like the Bulls then you have to balance your revenue, which you need to increase, with your expenses, which are player costs. But we have an advance plan, although there is only a limited amount of cash we can spend and we must balance that between marquee players and youngsters.

“And as a country, South Africa as a whole is under economic pressure. Overseas clubs have realised they can go for younger guys now, they are professional athletes so it will happen. But winning Super Rugby in 2018 is still our goal, it might not happen but there’s nothing wrong with the talent we have or the effort we’re putting in,’ Van Graan said.

Van Graan admitted, however, that the anger and frustration felt by the fans was an appropriate response that showed their love for the Bulls team.

“There’s a lot of disappointment and a lot of questions among our supporters and a lot of suggestions about where we need to go to. But it’s important that the board, the management, the coach, captain and players, who are all under an immense amount of pressure, keep perspective, they need to know where this is coming from.

“It’s because of the passion and loyalty of our supporters. The fact is, they love the brand and we realise how important the Bulls brand is to them. The people are worried and their complaints are justified,” Van Graan said.

Pierre de Bruyn: A disciplinarian who rates flexibility 0

Posted on November 21, 2014 by Ken

No one would ever doubt Pierre de Bruyn when he says “discipline is a non-negotiable in this environment”, but what might surprise people is that the Assupol Tuks head coach rates flexibility as the most important ingredient in the tremendous success he has enjoyed since coming to the University of Pretoria in 2010.

“There are plenty of theories thrown out about coaching, but my philosophy, what I really believe is the number one factor to being successful as a coach, is that you have to have flexibility. Discipline is non-negotiable in this environment, but every day you’re dealing with different personalities, attitudes, levels of skill and even different goals. So you really have to understand people,” De Bruyn told The Medalist.

“You need to get on the same boat as the individual, you need to work with them and help them get to the next level, like Theunis de Bruyn and Aiden Markram have embarked on their journey. But the player needs to trust you if you’re going to go on that journey with them, which is why you must understand the individual player.”

De Bruyn hides a steely interior behind this talk of flexibility, trust and understanding. During his 15-year career as a player for Easterns, Northerns, the Titans and the Dolphins, De Bruyn was acknowledged as one of the toughest competitors on the circuit, someone who made the absolute most of his talents.

“I wasn’t talented at all. But I managed to string together 15 years as a professional cricketer through complete hard work. I always tried to be one step ahead of the guy next to me through focus, discipline and enormous work ethic. I really wanted the tough situation,” he said.

“Talent is not enough and I always work on the mental aspect with my players. A good, solid mentality is key to succeeding in cricket and if you don’t have good discipline – at training, on the field and at home – how can you expect to play winning cricket? I want my players to understand that without discipline, they’ll be inconsistent and unreliable players.”

There is little doubt that players like Theunis de Bruyn, who has already made a strong start to the domestic franchise season, Graeme van Buuren, Markram, Corbin Bosch and Heinrich Klaasen will enjoy successful careers thanks to the foundation that has been laid at Tuks.

“Pierre has brought 15 years of experience in first-class cricket and he’s introduced a culture where young people can really learn their game and how to be successful at higher levels. It’s a very professional environment here and that’s why our players are able to excel when they go up to first-class level,” Theunis de Bruyn says.

While stressing the importance of the individual, coach De Bruyn will never allow that to become more important than the team ethos.

“One philosophy that is clear in our team, and every team member is in the same position, is that while we will work out how to meet a player’s personal needs, that can never overtake the team goals. We’ve created a culture of success here, we’ve built something special over the last five years,” he said.

And tradition will continue to play an important role in a club that has produced such stars as Mike Macaulay, Syd Burke, Alan Jordaan, Hein Raath, Tertius Bosch, Anton Ferreira, Martin van Jaarsveld, Jacques Rudolph, New Zealand Test cricketers Neil Wagner and Kruger van Wyk, AB de Villiers, Marchant de Lange, Morne and Albie Morkel, Paul Harris, Faf du Plessis, CJ de Villiers and Zimbabwe’s Kyle Jarvis.

“Guys have come through this system that have such character and tremendous attitudes and I really believe in that sort of tradition. We’re very fortunate to have this environment at Tuks, there are excellent services and support and we have the structures, I believe, to take on the best in the world,” De Bruyn said.

And the results bear that out.

2014 will be remembered as another phenomenal year for the Tuks cricket team. They are the world champions in the only global university cricket competition – the Red Bull Campus Cricket Finals, they completed a hat-trick of titles in the Momentum National Club Championships (unbeaten through 18 games) and they have won the Northerns Premier League for the last five years.

De Bruyn, though, will be focused on ensuring his team improve even more.

“It’s a fast-moving environment and it’s tough. The players are training and competing with first-class cricketers day in and day out and the club is basically like a full-time high-performance programme for the Titans.

“If I’m one percent unprepared as a coach then it can cost a young player his dreams. I have to be very sharp as the coach and stay one step ahead otherwise it will cost the player,” De Bruyn said.

A coach with such high standards for himself will undoubtedly be inspirational for his charges and the success of the Tuks team bears this out.



Lions make history on transformation front 0

Posted on July 10, 2012 by Ken

Gauteng cricket may have been accused in the past of being slow on the transformation front, but they made history on Tuesday by announcing Geoffrey Toyana as the new Highveld Lions head coach, the first black African to take charge of a franchise team.

Although the bold move may be seen as a gamble given that Toyana has never been a head coach at franchise level before, the 38-year-old has been steadily working his way up the coaching ladder and has done his apprenticeship.

He was the assistant coach to previous Lions mentor Dave Nosworthy, who resigned last month, and was the head coach of the Easterns team between 2008 and 2011. Toyana has also been an assistant coach with the SA U19 and Emerging Players teams.

“This is a very important and historic day for the development of cricket in this region. Geoffrey has a wealth of experience and talent, he played at the highest provincial level and he’s the right person to make sure there is a constant flow in the pipeline from amateur to professional cricket. We decided not to advertise the post because we felt we had somebody with the quality and experience to replace Dave Nosworthy in Geoffrey,” Lions CEO Cassim Docrat said at the Wanderers on Tuesday.

A left-handed batsman and part-time offspinner, Toyana played 84 first-class and 71 List A limited-overs games for Transvaal, Gauteng, Easterns and the Titans, between 1995/96 and 2011. He averaged just 24.49 and 18.95 respectively, scoring just one century, but his career was marked by the impression that his talent was never quite set free to blossom.

But you should not judge a coach by his playing record – Graham Ford, John Buchanan, Richard Pybus and Nosworthy himself are proof of that – and Toyana is confident that his own struggles as a cricketer will give him the empathy and understanding to help his charges.

Toyana should perhaps be more wary of the growing level of interference coaches now have to put up with from their boards – which is believed to be the reason Nosworthy resigned – but the Soweto product said his predecessor had taught him well.

“I’m very close to the board and there are no issues between us. But Dave also taught me a lot in terms of how to handle selection and budgets,” Toyana said.

The new coach will also have a hardened right-hand man in bowling coach Gordon Parsons, your typical crusty old county pro who was also the head coach of the Lions between 2005/6 and 2007/8, with Dumisa Makalima (video analyst), Craig Govender (physio) and Jeff Lunsky (trainer) the other support staff.

While the Lions played fantastic, entertaining cricket during their MiWay T20 Challenge run to the final last season, they ultimately fell short in the final, extending the franchise’s trophy-less run to five seasons. Toyana will inherit a squad with some exciting youngsters as well as a handful of experienced veterans, but he knows the lack of trophies will be the first thing he has to remedy.

“We have a good, experienced squad, but for the last five years we have struggled to win trophies. I hope I can turn this around and I’m walking into a structure that is all set up, so I want to create an environment in which the players can grow,” Toyana said.

“But I’m very delighted and humbled by the appointment and I hope I can be an example for other coaches in the townships and show that if you do the work, you can make it.”

Toyana’s appointment has been lauded by the Soweto Cricket Club, where both he and his father, Gus, began their playing days.

“As a club, where Geoffrey has played most of his cricket since his late father, Gus Toyana, led the club as captain and chairman, we are overjoyed at the message this sends to not only our players, but to all previously disadvantaged cricketers in both province and country. Geoffrey has always been a sterling example of a rolemodel throughout his cricket career,” Soweto CC chairman Gordon Templeton said.

“The board of the Lions franchise have illustrated the ability to be visionary in their outlook for the future of cricket not only in the Gauteng province, but also in South Africa. History will reflect that they have taken a cricketing decision to usher in a new era in the sport.”

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