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Ken Borland

50-Test Rabada has fulfilled the hysteria when he was a young fast bowler bursting on the scene 0

Posted on February 07, 2022 by Ken

Whenever a new, young fast bowler bursts on the scene – and in the South African context especially a Black African paceman – there is always a certain amount of hysteria.

Often the player fails to live up to the hype. But one can safely say that Kagiso Rabada, who will play his 50th Test when South Africa take on India in their series-decider starting at Newlands on Tuesday, has fulfilled his extraordinary talent and there is still more to come from the 26-year-old.

So far in his Test career, Rabada has taken 226 wickets at an average of 22.57. This compares most favourably with the greats of South African fast bowling. After 49 Tests, Dale Steyn had 255 wickets at 22.82; Allan Donald 248 at 21.91; Shaun Pollock 203 at 20.26; and Vernon Philander 183 at 21.95.

And Rabada has made it clear that for him, it’s the long game that matters. He wants to pile up those numbers and not just be a shooting star.

“You can’t take anything for granted in international cricket, but for me it’s about longevity, I don’t want to be doing well for a short period of time, that’s what drives me,” Rabada said.

“As much as it’s about getting wickets, it’s also about being the best I can be. And there’s no limit to that, I am nowhere near done. There are lots of ups and downs, and the challenge is to keep those good performances going for a long amount of time.

“You have to navigate those lows and external pressures can influence your game and the team space, but you get better at handling that with time. I just constantly remind myself that it is meant to be fun.

“I think back to the teenager who just wanted to play cricket, who had a burning desire to play at this level, next to my heroes. It’s been an honour and privilege to play alongside some big names,” Rabada said.

The fact that Rabada is sometimes criticised for not giving his all is a symptom of the high expectations that continually follow him.

His response to that: “I just try to keep it as simple as possible. The dry spells can come at any time and then you have to realise your strengths and improve on your weaknesses.

“Remember what got you here in the first place are your strengths. I really want to get the best out of myself,” Rabada said.

Rugby players put through the mill, trade union steps in 0

Posted on September 28, 2020 by Ken

The poor rugby players of the Eastern Cape have been put through the mill by their administrators, which is particularly sad because this is the hotbed, the nursery of Black African rugby in this country.

As we have discovered in cricket, a players’ union has an important role to play in safeguarding the interests of the sport’s major assets, so it was pleasing to see MyPlayers issue a strongly-worded statement in defence of those Southern Kings players who have been left high-and-dry by the decision to liquidate the franchise.

The South African Cricketers’ Association have demonstrated that they can bring self-serving administrators to book and force them to honour their contracts with the players, and now it is time for rugby’s players’ trade union to follow suit. The success of SACA is largely due to the unity displayed by the players in getting behind their union, and the excellent work of president Omphile Ramela and the two CEOs of recent times, Tony Irish and Andrew Breetzke.

The players put their faith in their union once they see it achieving palpable successes and hopefully the strong stance taken by MyPlayers earlier this week in condemning the administrators of unions which just liquidate their commercial entities, leaving their creditors (which includes the players) out of pocket and simply carrying on like normal, continuing to enjoy their seat on the gravy train, will see the players’ union develop into an even more powerful stakeholder in rugby.

When the Kings just closed operations, the administrators responsible just sailed on with no consequences, but it was hell for the players, who were told just six days before they were due to get their salaries that there would be nothing paid to them.

“It is just not good enough for a union to shift all the financial blame to the commercial entity that was set-up and co-managed by the union. It is an easy buck to pass when you suffer no consequences for the failings of your commercial entity. Come Monday, it will be life as normal for the union. It will still enjoy its voting rights on the SARU General Council and be allowed to make important commercial strategic decisions on the direction of the professional game even though their own commercial entity failed.

“They will still receive their normal financial distributions from the professional game from SARU and be allowed to participate on the field in the professional game although their own commercial entity was liquidated. However unthinkable, they will be allowed to immediately set-up a new commercial entity like the one they had just voluntarily liquidated. There is thus a clear incentive for unions to liquidate commercial entities and walk away from financial obligations to get a clean second bite at the cherry while creditors and employees are left in the dust to pick up the pieces,” MyPlayers CEO Eugene Henning said in the statement.

Given that our cricketers have not yet gone on strike despite all the damage done to the game and their livelihoods by Cricket South Africa, rugby will carry on but it is a dangerous game with limited earnings time for the players and we can expect them to flex their muscles even more now that they have broken the ice.

Much like when former CSA chief executive Thabang Moroe mobilised against SACA, we can expect pushback from the dinosaurs amongst our amateur administrators who probably don’t want trade unions in rugby. Especially when they quite rightly start wanting to have a say in how rugby is run, no longer limiting themselves solely to wage negotiations.

Now that MyPlayers have started digging into maladministration at the unions – the Valke have also liquidated their commercial entity, while Western Province and Border have followed the same route – we can expect more and more holes in the governance of rugby to become apparent.

And MyPlayers have also suggested certain tools to ensure fairer treatment for the unfortunate players who are shafted by these delinquent unions.

After the liquidation of a commercial entity, the union should not be allowed to participate in professional rugby until such time that they have demonstrated their capacity to adequately manage a commercial entity. During this time, unions will receive substantially smaller distributions from SARU; they will forfeit their voting rights on SARU’s General Council on any matters pertaining to professional rugby and their directors will have to undergo a professional rehabilitation process and only be allowed to operate a company and participate in professional rugby competitions again once they have demonstrated that they are capable of running a successful and sustainable commercial entity.

The seeds of a much more professional game in this country are right there in the MyPlayers’ proposal, hopefully SA Rugby will not dibble around and delay implementing these much-needed changes, especially with all the unions fishing around for equity partners.

With rugby being such a global game now and South African rugby set to expand its footprint into Europe, our unions must remember that from a sponsor’s viewpoint, there are plenty of other fish in the sea.

Gauteng cricket revolutionising the game by axing Black African icon 0

Posted on May 15, 2018 by Ken


There has been a lot of talk recently around Gauteng cricket of revolutionising the game, but so far their only notable action has been to strip the most successful Black African coach in franchise cricket of his duties, making him the fall guy for a poor season by the Highveld Lions.

Geoff Toyana was the first Black African head coach of a franchise when he was appointed in 2012 and he steered the Lions to four trophies in the next four seasons. There have been lean pickings since then, but there have certainly been extenuating circumstances – Toyana has had to practically rebuild a whole team due to the matchfixing scandal and the retirement of several senior players.

Sure, Toyana will still be employed by the Gauteng Cricket Board as High Performance Coach, but there is little doubt that this is a demotion and a slap in the face for someone who has been at the forefront of transformation at franchise level.

The last season was particularly disappointing for the Lions – they finished last in the Sunfoil Series and fifth in both the Momentum One-Day Cup and RamSlam T20 Challenge – but when board members come into the changeroom mid-season and lambast the players with threats that eight of them will lose their contracts, it’s hardly conducive to inspirational performances.

Toyana will be the first to admit that he was probably not at his best as coach either, but again, a more sensitive administration would have understood the reasons why. It could not have been easy for the Soweto Cricket Club product to start the summer as the favourite to be the new Proteas coach and then watch it all unravel.

Add to that massive disappointment the family bereavements he also had to deal with, and it was clear Toyana was a man under severe pressure this last summer.

But the 44-year-old still had an additional year to run on his contract and surely the right thing to do, especially if one is serious about transformation and not just political powerplays, would have been to wipe the slate clean on the last season and allow Toyana to finish his term. Based on results, a less knee-jerk decision could then be taken.

Especially since this is a man who has added so much to the reputation of Gauteng cricket. Let’s not forget that before he became Highveld Lions coach, the franchise had won just one paltry trophy in eight seasons. Under Toyana’s watch, six new Test cricketers, ranging from Quinton de Kock to Stephen Cook, as well as six other limited-overs internationals were produced for the Proteas.

The talk in the Wanderers corridors is that Enoch Nkwe is in line to replace Toyana, which would make sense (at the right time) because the 35-year-old is intimately linked with Gauteng cricket. Currently the assistant coach of the national women’s side, and having fulfilled a similar role for the men’s team in the Netherlands, Nkwe played for the franchise for seven seasons before coaching the semi-pro provincial side.

But there is also talk that the Gauteng Cricket Board have got themselves into a tangle that has led to them axing Toyana. So confident were they that Toyana would be in the Proteas coaching set-up that they allegedly bought Nkwe out of his contract with Haarlemsche Cricket Club and the union now cannot afford to be paying the salaries of two head coaches at the same time.

Perhaps if the board were not so busy with putting out the regular fires that spring up from all the infighting and politicking – if it were all about the transformation needs of the game that would be fine, but the impression is that most of it is all about the personal benefit of the egos involved – then they would be more able to keep their eye on the ball and ensure the franchise is excelling where it really matters – out on the field.

Titans limit their Black African batting options but beef up bowling 0

Posted on May 10, 2017 by Ken


The absence of a single fully-contracted Black African batsman in the Titans squad for next season could limit their options when it comes to fulfilling the quota of three in every starting line-up, but CEO Jacques Faul said they had decided to beef up their bowling.

Grant Mokoena, who averaged just 26 in eight Sunfoil Series games and scored 49 runs at a strike-rate of only 89 in his three T20 appearances, has joined the Knights, while Daniel Sincuba played one four-day game, scoring 32 and 0, and has been released.

Former SA U19 Junior World Cup captain Tony de Zorzi showed glimpses of promise in a few opportunities he was given towards the end of the season, and he has been given a rookie contract, and the inside lane in terms of Black African batsmen.

Mokoena and Sincuba’s contracts have gone to a pair of fast bowlers who excelled for Northerns in their triumphant season – Eldred Hawken and Alfred Mothoa, while former SA U19 batsman Andrea Agathangelou, who has played county cricket for Lancashire and Leicestershire, has been signed from South-Western Districts.

“It’s probably not ideal, but we still have a lot of batting depth and we have decided to run with Tony de Zorzi, simply because whoever we bring in needs to be on the same sort of level as a Henry Davids or Aiden Markram, and there’s probably nobody close to that.

“We’ve beefed up the bowling and we have three quality pacemen in Lungi Ngidi, Malusi Siboto and Junior Dala, plus Alfred Mothoa is a banker and we’re excited about left-arm spinner Gregory Mahlokwana, who got injured after his first game, but we think he will play more,” Faul told The Citizen on Friday.

Nevertheless, readers of the Titans squad list will be struck by the tremendous depth at their disposal – eight current nationally-contracted players, four former Proteas and three players with bright international futures in Heinrich Klaasen, Markram and Ngidi.

Players like fast bowler Dala and leg-spinner Shaun von Berg are also certainly on the national selectors’ radar having been chosen for SA A and the CSA spin camp in India respectively.

Titans Contracted Players 2017/18: Andrea Agathangelou, Junior Dala, Henry Davids, Heinrich Klaasen, Heino Kuhn, Eldred Hawken, Aiden Markram, Albie Morkel, Alfred Mothoa, Lungi Ngidi, Rowan Richards, Malusi Siboto, Grant Thomson, David Wiese, Shaun von Berg, Jonathan Vandiar. Rookies – Tony de Zorzi, Rivaldo Moonsamy. CSA-contracted national players – Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock, AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Morné Morkel, Chris Morris, Tabraiz Shamsi.


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    Mark 7:8 – “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.”

    Our foundation must be absolute surrender, devotion and obedience to God, rising from pure love for him. Jesus Christ must be central in all things and his will must take precedence over the will of people, regardless of how well-meaning they may be.

    Surrender yourself unconditionally to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, then you will be able to identify what is of man with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Then you will be able to serve – in love! – according to God’s will.

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