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Ken Borland

Kolisi ditching his 5yr Sharks contract is all kosher – Eduard 0

Posted on October 13, 2023 by Ken

Current captain Siya Kolisi will be leaving the Sharks at the end of the season, even though he signed a five-year contract renewal last May, to join Racing 92 in France, and it’s all kosher according to the local franchise’s CEO Eduard Coetzee.

Kolisi’s three-year deal with Racing, a Parisian club, was announced on Tuesday and, while it will no doubt shock Sharks fans and cause consternation in terms of those wondering what happens to the Springbok captaincy after the World Cup, Coetzee said he was leaving Kings Park early with their full blessing.

“Siya’s move to France is a new and exciting opportunity and we could not be happier for him. We are blessed to have him don the black-and-white jersey and we know that over the next few months, he will continue to give back to the team and our fans,” Coetzee said in a Sharks statement, which also said the move was “part of a broader long-term collaboration between the Sharks and Racing 92, with the two clubs having come to an amicable agreement, while they also look forward to continuing to build a mutually-beneficial relationship in the future.”

Kolisi expressed his gratitude to the Sharks for their willingness to part with their most iconic player.

“It has been an incredible collaborative effort between the Sharks and Racing 92 that has enabled me to start a new chapter in my career after the 2023 World Cup.

“I want to give a massive thanks to the Sharks for welcoming me with open arms in 2021, and for making me feel so at home in Durban, while their support over the last couple of years has been hugely influential during a key period in my career.

“I am immensely appreciative that the Sharks have given me their blessing to make this move, and it goes without saying that I will continue to give my all for the team over the next few months,” Kolisi said.

“The signing of Siya Kolisi reinforces the ambitions of Racing 92 and will offer our supporters a high-level of performance,” said Jack Lorenzetti, the owner of Racing.

“His winning ambition and natural leadership makes him a great player, but he’s also a deep humanist. He will bring additional positive energy to Racing 92.”

The 31-year-old’s departure to France, for what is probably hundreds of thousands of euro a year, certainly spices up the debate about how the Springboks should approach the post-2023 World Cup era.

Kolisi will only be 32 at the end of this year’s World Cup, and 36 at the 2027 event in Australia, which he will presumably still be available for given that his Sharks contract was going to run until then.

Whoever is in charge of the Springboks at the end of this year may want to keep Kolisi as captain, perhaps with a handover period to his successor.

Lions CEO Leaf-Wright provides an education in leadership 4

Posted on July 10, 2023 by Ken

Central Gauteng Lions CEO Jono Leaf-Wright is usually the first to arrive and the last to leave the DP World Wanderers Stadium.

The finals of the Diadora Jozi Cup over the Youth Day long weekend drew the curtain on another jampacked, successful season at the DP World Wanderers Stadium, all overseen by CEO Jono Leaf-Wright, who continues to provide an education in leadership through his passion for Lions Cricket.

Just as the Diadora Jozi Cup brought together over 1800 players in 110 teams in a phenomenal competition for clubs, so too has Leaf-Wright united the talents of his staff and players as the union continues to lead the way in South African domestic cricket.

A good leader plays a pivotal role in setting the climate and reputation of their organisation, as well as affecting the attitude of its members. Leaf-Wright has been able to surround himself with good people in an empathetic environment that values integrity and does not waver when it comes to quality.

“Jono has such respect for individuals, it doesn’t matter who you are, he makes you feel amazing. He has time, compassion and appreciates everyone who works at Lions cricket and beyond, irrespective of your role in the ranks,” Chief Financial Officer Brecht Mohonathan says.

“He has resilience, he deals with difficult people and problems daily, but he doesn’t give up, he bounces back and manages to look at the bigger picture. It’s a refreshing new style of leadership at Lions Cricket, one that was needed.

“Jono brings the organisation together – all teams work together, towards a common goal. All ideas are considered, he has an open-door policy and never professes to know it all. Everyone feels included,” Mohonathan says.

Busi Radebe, an Independent Director of the Central Gauteng Lions, has been highly-impressed by the CEO’s influence at Board level.

“Working with Jono leaves me in awe all the time. He has amazing leadership ability and is a visionary and innovator of note. His committed focus on community, family, transformation and empowerment is always evident in all the events and was clearly visible throughout the Diadora Jozi Cup Finals.

“Jono’s leadership and passion seem to have permeated his entire Lions team. It has also been interesting for me to see the values of Central Gauteng Lions Cricket (PRIDE)  come to life in all that they do no matter how small. The Passion, Reliability, Inclusion and Innovation, Dedication, Excellence and Enjoyment that they exude in their delivery cannot be missed,” Radebe says.

Great leaders are also visionaries and one of Leaf-Wright’s strongest attributes is his ability to make other people believe in his vision. It’s also a lot easier to believe in someone when they lead from the front in terms of effort and dedication. Like so many of his DP World Lions players who put in hours of extra training at the nets, the 40-year-old Leaf-Wright is always willing to go the extra mile.

The CEO stayed at this year’s Lions awards evening at the Wanderers Club almost till the bitter end – carriages were preparing to turn into pumpkins – but the next day (a Sunday) he was up bright and early like on any work day and off to see as many of the 27 venues being used for the Jozi Cup as he could.

“Jono is a very hands-on CEO who constantly leads by example, he is often found on the ground welcoming people and making them feel comfortable. His compassion and respect for players, the spectators and cricket is truly rare and is appreciated by all,” 2022 DP World Lions Ladies Players’ Player of the Season Jameelah Shaikjee says.

“Because of his professionalism and perseverance, Jono pushes through despite late nights, early mornings and weekends. It’s thanks to his passion for the game and the people that he has this dedication – he leaves home early and gets back late every single day,” Mohonathan points out.

“Jono always shows such diligence – he does things properly and makes sure things are done properly. He also shows doggedness when he stands up for people, he doesn’t cave in, he’s courageous and meets challenges head-on. Jono just has that drive so he keeps pushing through in order to make sure it all gets done.”

Leaf-Wright speaks often about how important a balanced life is; despite the many times he no doubt wanted to spend more time with his wife, nine-year-old son and four-year-old daughter, he also is keenly aware that other families are depending on him to ensure Lions Cricket is economically thriving.

And his Midas Touch has been evident on the books with the union enjoying a financial turnaround despite the ravages of Covid. When Leaf-Wright took over, they were declaring losses of R12-14 million in consecutive years. In May 2022, after the redesign of the stadium and the implementation of his vision and business plan, Lions Cricket declared a nett profit for the 2021/2022 financial year for the first time since 2017, and it is set to declare another nett profit after this current 2022/2023 financial year.

A successful businessman and entrepreneur in his own right, Leaf-Wright always wanted, however, to be involved in elite cricket and he has worked his way up from carrying drinks and cleaning shoes as a changeroom attendant at the self-same DP World Wanderers Stadium.

Leaf-Wright coached at every level of grassroots cricket and has a CSA Level Three Coaching Qualification, has been a national U19 talent scout for 11 years and coached the Lions U19 team for 11 years as well. He was the manager of the Jozi Stars in the Mzansi Super League and spent time with the Royal Challengers Bangalore from 2009 to 2011 assisting the IPL side.

Under Leaf-Wright’s watch, Lions Cricket have won over 10 trophies since the 2019/2020 season when he took over as CEO at the back end of 2019.

In his business endeavours, Leaf-Wright has shown himself to be a disruptor, not always sticking to the norms and traditions, but trying things. But he has always wanted to do things for the right reason – to serve his organisation. He has said that the biggest part of leadership is the care factor for other people.

The all-round sports fan is on a journey that is not his own, the colleagues that travel with him are just as important.

“Jono is an incredible leader with great people skills. It doesn’t matter which walk of life you are from, he will make you feel welcome and special and go out of his way for you. His vibrant positive energy is infectious. He’s an out-of-the-box thinker, always looking for ideas to make things better and improve situations,” Reeza Hendricks, DP World Lions stalwart and Proteas white-ball star, says.

Leaf-Wright understands that he cannot do his job alone, that would be a very lonely task. Instead, he empowers the people around him to help achieve their common goals and the big dreams they have for Lions Cricket.

It is an approach that has certainly impressed the Lions’ chief sponsors, DP World.

“Jono has been integral to the ongoing success, strategic direction and innovation of the DP World Lions family and DP World Wanderers Stadium,” says Esha Mansingh, the Executive Head: Corporate Affairs and Sustainability sub-Saharan Africa at DP World.

“As a key partner to the stadium, we are proud of the immense growth of Lions cricket over the past few years, extending its footprint and impact both on and off the field, driven by Jono’s exceptional vision, passion and support of both professional and community cricket. Jono always ensures that the requirements of Lions Cricket’s partners, such as ourselves at DP World, are accommodated and that we work together towards a common goal that not only drives results but also supports our teams and communities,” Mansingh says.

Throughout his tenure, Leaf-Wright and his team have managed to attract multiple proud partners and built solid, genuine and mutually beneficial relationships with global brands such as McDonalds and Coca-Cola as well as many other brands just as impressive in the likes of Telkom, ENZA Construction, Sun International, Fidelity ADT, Masana Fuels and too many more to mention.

Lions Cricket is on a good wicket, enjoying their purple patch and clearly have no intention of stopping any time soon.

CEO says it’s irrelevant whether BBCo houses Nkosi’s rugby career in future as Bok wing is found 0

Posted on April 13, 2023 by Ken

Whether the Blue Bulls Company houses Sbu Nkosi’s rugby career in future is irrelevant right now, CEO Edgar Rathbone said on Tuesday, because their focus is on making sure the Springbok wing gets the help he needs to solve his personal issues.

Nkosi had been missing from Loftus Versfeld for three weeks, raising fears for his wellbeing and safety, before he was found at his father’s house in Emalahleni (Witbank) on Monday afternoon. Rathbone was among the search party and he had a 40-minute talk with the 26-year-old.

“It was important for me to establish he was okay, safe and unharmed, and to find out where he is at. I was thrilled he was alive but sad to see the state he was in,” Rathbone said on Tuesday.

“We will provide the support he needs, but it’s difficult to put a timeline on his recovery, we need to give him space and get him back to full health. We need to follow the process, for some people it takes one month, for others six months, it depends on the depth they have to go.

“Our goal is to get him back on the rugby field and feeling like the champion he is again. Even if that’s not at the Bulls, it’s our job to get him ready. It’s irrelevant right now whether he plays for the Bulls again or some other team, it’s about Sbu Nkosi the person.

“Our concern is not for Sbu Nkosi the rugby player but for him as a person. He is an employee of the company and being absent without leave for three weeks does have consequences. But at this stage, we’re missing the point if we’re worrying about whether he still has a contract or not,” Rathbone said.

In terms of how the Bulls handled the disappearance of one of their star players, Rathbone said they had to cut their cloth according to the circumstances at the time, but he added “I’m sure mistakes were made along the way, but the player’s reputation also needed to be managed and his safety was a concern as well”.

While both the Bulls and MyPlayers, the players’ organisation to look after their interests, have mental health support measures in place, Rathbone said they would review the overall efficiency of these systems.

The CEO added that he hoped the general public would cotton on to the fact that coarse messaging on social media can lead struggling players into the dumps.

“I would ask everyone to be kind and not to make any remarks that may be harmful to Sbu. If you look at the comments and articles on social media, it’s quite frightening how stones are thrown at people.

“Everyone is going through stuff, no-one is immune to it. I would ask people to have a bit of respect for their fellow human beings.

“Unlike other jobs, our employees win or lose every Saturday and that’s pressure. I know it’s what they signed up for, but if they need help handling it then that support needs to be there,” Rathbone said.

Sharks so lacking in elan & polish that CEO apologises 0

Posted on February 28, 2023 by Ken

The Sharks produced a display so lacking in elan and polish against Cardiff on Sunday night that CEO Eduard Coetzee took the unprecedented step of apologising for the performance at the post-match press conference.

Getting spectators to the ground on a Sunday night is a hard enough ask, but it then poured with rain at Kings Park and the Sharks dished up one of their worst performances in several years, being thrashed 35-0.

“I would like to apologise for that display to the fans who came here and sat in the rain, more than 7000 of them, and to our sponsors and stakeowners, they don’t deserve that,” Coetzee said at the start of his surprise statement to the media.

“A lot of effort has gone into this franchise and we will not just leave this there. We will turn it around and we will rectify that. That was unlike the Sharks and we will do everything possible to rectify this as soon as possible,” Coetzee said.

The CEO also praised Cardiff for their “unbelievable” display, but the magnificence of the visitors’ performance lay not so much in dazzling rugby but in simple clinical execution of the right plan for the conditions, and plenty of passion.

“They managed the game a lot better and we couldn’t do the same, so we were pinned in our 22,” Sharks director of rugby Neil Powell said. “We also made a lot of basic errors.

“If you can’t even do the basics well then you are not going to do well at this level. If you’re not going to be accurate or clinical, then you will find yourself in trouble.

“Needless to say it was a massive disappointment and just not good enough. It was an opportunity for guys to show they can play at this level, but now we will have to take a hard look from an individual perspective at players and management.

“It’s going to be hard work and it will be great if we can show the character to bounce back from this quickly,” Powell 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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