Super League not so super

Majority of Mzansi Super League games failed to fill stadiums. Picture:Ashley Vlotman / Gallo Images
Majority of Mzansi Super League games failed to fill stadiums. Picture:Ashley Vlotman / Gallo Images

Cricket SA (CSA) has not only missed its deadline for the appointment of a new director of cricket, but it may go back to square one and readvertise the post entirely.

This comes after the candidate who CSA wanted, Graeme Smith, withdrew from the race because he felt that he would not be given the necessary freedom and because CSA dragged its feet in communicating with him.

None of the other candidates – David Nosworthy, Hussein Manack and Corrie van Zyl – had heard anything from CSA by Friday, despite the fact that CSA chief executive Thabang Moroe had undertaken to make an announcement about the matter by then.

The English team lands in Johannesburg on December 15 for its tour of South Africa, but CSA is still without a director of cricket, a full-time team director, a selections committee or assistant coaches.

Moroe, in interviews on SAfm and Newzroom Afrika, earlier this week promised to make an announcement by Friday.

“We stick to our timelines, but we want to appoint the right man for the job. We may make mistakes with how we approach things, but we will not be rushed with the appointment of the first director of cricket,” Moroe said on Newzroom Afrika.

“It’s an important appointment that we don’t take lightly. There is no favourite at present.”

Moroe said the CSA would not succumb to pressure to make an announcement, adding that they would readvertise and even invite people from overseas to apply if necessary.

On Friday Manack told City Press’ sister publication Rapport that it would be a mistake to appoint a foreign national.

“You need someone who understands the South African context; who understands the history and the politics of transformation,” he said.

But it seems unlikely that CSA will announce an appointment soon.

Enoch Nkwe will most likely remain as acting team director, but it remains unclear who his assistant coaches will be.

It also remains unclear who will pick the team to go up against England because the sport’s governing body has not yet appointed a new selections boss to take over from Linda Zondi.

CSA spokesperson Thamie Mthembu this week said there was a team within CSA that would pick the squad, but he refused to name the persons “in the interest of collegiality”.

In addition, CSA still has to deal with the mess occasioned by the suspension of senior officials Van Zyl, Naasei Appiah and Clive Eksteen.

CSA suspended the three last month, pending investigations into alleged “dereliction of duty” in relation to players’ rights in last year’s Mzansi Super League.

After the suspensions, Tony Irish, the chief executive officer of the SA Cricketers’ Association, said that it was not the fault of either of the three officials that CSA had not paid for players’ rights. It was Moroe’s fault, he claimed.

At least one of the three suspended employees took legal advice and sources do not believe that the issue will be resolved soon. This impedes Van Zyl’s chances of becoming the director of cricket, even though he is widely regarded as the best of the three candidates currently under consideration.

Moroe is said to have placed himself in a position of almost untouchable authority within CSA. He has allegedly convinced the board to allow him to make certain decisions without requiring their approval.

This also explains the new management structures, which will see the team director report directly to the director of cricket, who reports directly to Moroe. Effectively, it would mean that Moroe has a direct line into the Proteas’ changing room.

To rub salt into the wounds of the beleaguered governing body, the league has failed to attract large audiences. Outside Paarl, poor attendance is experienced at almost every stadium – fewer than 3 000 people went to Wanderers Stadium to watch the Jozi Stars play against the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants last week.

Moroe admitted on Newzroom Afrika that it was concerning, but said the league was already the tournament with the second largest worldwide television audience after the Indian Premier League. He said it was gratifying to have bigger audiences than the Australian Big Bash League and the Pakistan Super League in the second season.

CSA gave broadcast rights to the SABC for free and the series appears to be heading for another big loss. According to sources, the losses could approach R100 million.

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