CSA has a duty to clean up the game of cricket

2013-02-01 00:00

THE moment I think or write about Cricket South Africa (CSA), a black cloud descends over my head. Let’s hope it heads in the right direction tomorrow and gives that cloud a silver lining.

It would be wishful thinking if one were to say that CSA’s drama was to end tomorrow at its annual general meeting. It is like asking pigs to wrestle in the mud and not enjoy it. In my estimation, that is how low CSA has stooped, but then again, it is of its own doing.

I do not want to harp on about the composition of the board because the high and mighty South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) decided to wade in and decide who should run cricket.

Unlike a fellow journalist, who needs to explain his gripe with Sascoc, I have no beef with CSA. I just want my favourite sport that I happily stay up for in the dead of night, to start functioning properly at all levels. Surely, the mantra “sports should be run by sports people” has to make way for common sense, but it is too little, too late.

It was clear that the old boys’ network that fired Chief Executive Gerald Majola knew how to run the game, but was complicit in the morass. After the meeting, I guess it will still be there.

Life is anything but a fairy tale. CSA has a duty to the South African public to clean up the game and in that manner, clear its name. CSA owes its sponsors, the country and, more importantly, the cricketers who have ensured that the boardroom shenanigans have not spilt over onto the oval. Too much cannot be expected too soon, but the albatross of mismanagement needs to be removed by the new board.

If one has read Can Themba’s short story The Suit, the weight of unresolved issues can have dire consequences.

It is not fitting that a landmark, that of Graeme Smith’s 100th Test as a captain, takes place against the backdrop chaos that has engulfed CSA. The factional battles will never end, though. For where there is sport and money, politics and patronage will follow. As much as independents can hold the term to their office doors, at the end of the day, it is likely they will fall victim to the whims of the majority.

Keeping the patronage open was one battle Sascoc won and Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula’s silence on the matter is rather deafening and a matter of great concern. Then again, with his exclusion from the African National Congress’s national executive committee for hedging his bets with the wrong camp during the elective conference in Mangaung in December and the ongoing African Nations Cup, his priorities lie elsewhere.

I hate how Sascoc has hijacked CSA, but unfortunately that’s how the dice has rolled. The numbers, which will come out tomorrow afternoon, will have to be dealt with the way they are.

The outgoing members, who are Dr Willie Basson and Jacques Faul, have done an excellent job in righting the listing ship.

The next captain will have to move it away from the rocks and entertain the large band, crew and passengers at the same time. It will not be an easy task, but let us hope (diffidently) and pray for reform.

That is all I and the all the cricket lovers in the country ask for.

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