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Ken Borland



CSA Board found the going tough in parliament 0

Posted on October 07, 2020 by Ken

The representatives of the Cricket South Africa Board tasked with meeting parliament’s portfolio committee on sports, arts and culture on Tuesday found the going so tough that they caved in and have agreed to release the full Fundudzi Forensic Report to those politicians by 4.30pm on Friday.

CSA’s seven-strong delegation included acting president Beresford Williams and independent directors Eugenia Kula-Ameyaw, Marius Schoeman and Dheven Dharmalingam, but they received a hostile welcome from the sports portfolio committee, who were miffed that a summary of the forensic report had been released publicly on Monday before the politicians had had a chance to look at it.

The self-serving nature of CSA leadership is probably only matched by those parasites in parliament, so it was no surprise when the portfolio committee, who have been waiting five months for the report, began to demand that nothing less than the full, unedited Fundudzi findings be made available to them.

It was Schoeman, the chairman of CSA’s audit and risk committee, who eventually made the concession.

“It’s a tipping point and a step in the right direction. The protocol to follow is that the Members Council will be consulted and confirm that the Board may release this report. It will be released in hard copy by Fundudzi by Friday, close of business, 16 hours 30. If this is not done by 16:30 on Friday, then I will resign,” Schoeman promised.

Acting president Williams, who was mentioned in the Fundudzi report for failing to recuse himself when there were conflicts of interest in loan discussions between CSA and the Western Province Cricket Association which he formerly headed, also committed himself to the full report being released. That will surely see him put out to grass when the AGM is held on December 5, following former president Chris Nenzani, who had initially made all sorts of promises about releasing the report and then resigned in mid-August, into the wilderness.

“On behalf of CSA I just want to recommit that we will deliver on our promise. Thanks to everyone for their contribution. We will make the full report available as committed,” Williams said.

Judging by the level of anger expressed by the sports portfolio committee and by Sascoc, it seems inevitable that they will only be satisfied once the entire CSA Board has been put out to pasture.

“I respected cricket’s leadership when they said they were waiting and processing. But the respect I have given you I didn’t see in return. You think that this report does not belong to the committee. Why should we wait, five months down the line? And instead of this committee being given the full report, a summary goes to the public.

“I’m very disappointed with your leadership for disrespecting even the chairperson of this committee, who gave you chances when the members said I shouldn’t. You didn’t have the courtesy of thinking, five months down the line, that there is a committee of parliament that you were supposed to prioritise. I don’t take kindly to what you have done to me. I’m so disappointed in your leadership that, five months down the line, you have done this to us,” Beauty Dlulane, the chair of the sports portfolio committee, said.

Hockey is far from dying 0

Posted on May 08, 2016 by Ken

 

We are constantly being told that hockey is a dying game in South Africa, unloved by the politicians that run sport in this country and struggling to stay afloat as an amateur pursuit in this professional day and age.

But when I spent last week at the Senior Interprovincial Nationals – the most prestigious interprovincial tournament – in Randburg, I was delighted to be reacquainted with a vibrant sport that has passionate followers and a festive culture of its own.

At the top level, where our best hockey players continue to be denied opportunities to play on the biggest stages like the Olympics, there are obvious frustrations, but hockey is the epitome of a mass-participation sport at school, university and club level.

I was told stories of how traditional rugby schools are now finding greater numbers of children wanting to play hockey rather than the oval-ball game.

And in terms of transformation, the South African Hockey Association (Saha) have a good story to tell with numerous players of colour involved at IPT, including several Black coaches. The SA U21 team that made the men’s final included eight players of colour, including six Black Africans.

Saha’s wise policy of humouring and engaging with Sascoc and the minister of sport has paid off with Fikile Mbalula announcing a R10 million injection into hockey’s coffers two weeks ago.

Hockey has been operating on shoestring budgets ever since I began reporting on it back in the early 1990s, so any financial input is most welcome. It’s a well-known fact that our top players have been paying their own way to compete and represent South Africa, something Tubby Reddy and Gideon Sam of Sascoc should choke on the next time they sit down for their sumptuous dinner on their next first-class flight to their next jaunt.

Due to these financial constraints, hockey, at top level, has been forced to become a sport for the young. Once the stars leave their places of tertiary education, the demands of work make it just about impossible for them to dedicate the time they need to remaining in peak shape for the game. It was noticeable how young most of the teams at IPT looked, to such an extent that it reminded me of an U21 interprovincial.

A handful of internationals have been able to become professional players in Europe.

Like cricket, it’s probably fair to say that hockey had its stronghold in English-speaking areas like Natal, Cape Town and Johannesburg, but this has changed dramatically. Northerns, with many Tuks students in their ranks, won the women’s IPT and Afrikaans schools have taken to the game with gusto, as they have to cricket. There is already an explosion of interest amongst the Coloured and Black communities.

In terms of marketing, hockey has much going for it. It has a strong youth flavour (which is always attractive) but it is a sport entire families can participate in, with leagues running from the youngsters through to the Masters, from highly-competitive to social. It is also a game that is evolving into a high-speed, highly entertaining spectacle thanks to the work of the FIH, the international body, in tinkering with the rules.

Saha president Mike du Plessis was telling me about the exciting plans they have for festivals of five-a-side hockey in which the whole family can be involved at the same venue.

Hockey should not be embarrassed that it needs money, sometimes the local game suffers under the impression that they are the ugly step-child of South African sport.

I say they should be bold about their needs, because they have much to offer and there are certainly exciting plans in the pipeline.

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