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Ken Borland

From heading to France with no future in SA, Sharks CEO is now spearheading a real drive for transformation 0

Posted on February 28, 2022 by Ken

Eduard Coetzee admits that, during his playing days, he moved to France for nine years because he did not believe, as a White player, that he had a future in South African rugby. Now, as CEO of the Sharks, he is spearheading one of the most ambitious and successful beacons of transformation and inclusive culture in the game.

The former Sharks and SA A prop left Durban in 2005 and played for Bayonnais and Biarritz, before returning to Durban in 2012 and working in the financial sector. He was appointed as the Sharks’ commercial and marketing manager in 2014, chief operations officer in 2015 and became CEO in July 2019.

Coetzee’s business savvy – he has a doctorate in Inclusive Business Model Innovation – and vision certainly played a part in one of the biggest investments ever in South African sport when the MVM consortium became private equity partners of the Sharks.

But the Sharks don’t just have plenty of financial capital; there is also the sense that they have tremendous moral capital in the bank because of the nation-building project that is going so well at Kings Park.

“When we discussed transformation back in the day, all the heads – Black and White – used to drop in the team room,” Coetzee recalls. “It was seen as a punitive thing.

“Whites would feel they had no future in the game and agents played a big hand in that. I was in France for nine years because I believed I had no future here.

“But transformation, in terms of gender, race and mindsets, is a business priority. A lot has changed and ‘I See Colour’ is the cornerstone of our culture. I’m White, you’re Black and that’s cool. We can’t act as if colour doesn’t exist.

“It’s not about apologising for who I am but about being sympathetic to other people. And I had an upbringing that paralleled Steve Hofmeyr’s – Affies, Tuks, the Bulls,” Coetzee points out.

The 42-year-old knows, of course, that on-field success is what the Sharks will ultimately be measured on, however, and even there, ambitions are high.

“We have ambitions of being global competitors. We want to win the Heineken Champions Cup. Previously we were just trying to survive as South African franchises, we would build players up and then lose them.

“But we weren’t an unsuccessful franchise, we were happy enough. But MVM have brought an attitude of we want to try to be the best. They are thinking big.

“We want to invest in people and uplift the community. It’s not about turfing out our history but amplifying it and the global reach of what they believe is an undervalued team,” Coetzee says.

One of the notable gifts of the married father of three sons is the ability to see the potential in others.

“There are guys here who really come from nothing and when you discuss their previous life with them, you realise what that actually means.

“And then you throw them into a situation with lots of money and pressure and no support. That’s where our life coaching and educational development programmes come in.

“I’m still studying and I tell the players that if I have time to do it, then so do you. We have created a structure that gives them enough time to study, with the help of tutors.

“If they do want to go into business, we help them with seed capital through our business development office and our investors draw people of influence into the Sharks environment,” Coetzee points out.

Next time you’re in Durban, pop into the coffee shop at Kings Park, which is run by players, or the local chicken shop which the Sharks have invested in and which has 10 franchises in KZN and five others in Gauteng and the Western Cape.

It is all part of the Sharks’ policy of treating their players unbelievably well … and thereby getting the best out of them on the field and hopefully keeping them in Durban.

Elgar adamant that SA cricket is not a corpse & they can take on India blow-for-blow 0

Posted on January 26, 2022 by Ken

The misguided few will say Dean Elgar is presiding over the corpse of South African cricket, but the Proteas skipper is adamant that his team can take on India, who he readily admits are the best side in the world, blow-for-blow in the series that starts at Centurion on Boxing Day.

India’s recent victory over New Zealand, winners of the inaugural World Test Championship earlier in the year, returned them to the No.1 ranking, with the Proteas currently languishing in sixth place. But India have never won a series in South Africa and Elgar believes this home ground advantage can give them an edge.

“India have been ranked No.1 for quite some time and, in my opinion, they are the top side, the ranking system is there for a reason,” Elgar said on Friday. “But I think the series will be pretty even and playing at home gives us a bit of an upperhand.

“India have improved a lot in terms of their travelling record and Virat Kohli has put a lot of emphasis on winning on the road. Their dream is to win a series here and as captain I’ll be trying to prevent that.

“It makes it an exciting series and we’re extremely mindful that they will come out firing, but then they know we will too. India’s strength is in their bowling, we’re very aware of their success as a unit.

“I’m sure they will exploit South African conditions well, the pitches do a bit more here than elsewhere around the world, but we’ve also got a very good pace attack. The first punch is going to be important,” Elgar said.

Selecting the right attack is going to be a complex issue for the Proteas because, in their expanded squad, they have eight different pace bowling options. But while South Africa have historically been biased towards using the fast men, Elgar all but confirmed that spinner Keshav Maharaj will play at SuperSport Park.

“It’s my home ground and conditions have changed a bit, there is sometimes some turn,” Elgar said. “We want to set the game up for days four and five, when hopefully the pitch will deteriorate a bit.

“Keshav will then come into play and he’s so adaptable that he doesn’t just contain, but he can also be a wicket-taker, a strike bowler at the right time. He’s been pretty amazing for us and we can’t neglect him.

“There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing the pace attack, but we will try to tie in with the style of play we’re trying to implement. We have the luxury of an extended squad so we are able to tick all the boxes.

“I like to think we have all our bases covered in terms of selection. It’s a good headache to have, we can exploit a few options. But I still favour having a spinner in the attack,” Elgar said.

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    Philemon 1:7 – “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.”

    “Every disciple of Jesus has a capacity for love. The most effective way to serve the Master is to share his love with others. Love can comfort, save the lost, and offer hope to those who need it. It can break down barriers, build bridges, establish relationships and heal wounds.” – A Shelter From The Storm, Solly Ozrovech

    If there’s a frustrating vacuum in your spiritual life and you fervently desire to serve the Lord but don’t know how you’re meant to do that, then start by loving others in his name.


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