Side Entry: Have soccer, rugby and cricket lost the ability to hire good help?

Simnikiwe Xabanisa
Simnikiwe Xabanisa

Wanted: A recruitment company to help the country’s so-called big three sporting codes – soccer, rugby and cricket – successfully nail down whatever administrator or coach they’re looking for.

For some reason, this has been a year in which the country’s supposedly leading sporting codes have consistently found it hard to get coaching or behind-the-scenes help.

Each time they’ve tried, they’ve pulled a Jack and the Beanstalk by giving up the family silver for magic beans that turned out to not be so magic after all.

The Bulls got the ball rolling in their attempts to replace New Zealander John Mitchell earlier this year, going in for legendary former Springbok lock Victor Matfield and his long flowing locks, and ending up with the genial Oom Pote Human and his snor, the last name on their three-man short list.

The Southern Kings weren’t far behind.

A few months ago, they tried to find a replacement for Deon Davids, who, ironically, was on the Bulls’ short list, but was ruled out because he’d actually renewed his contract but was none the wiser (you simply cannot make this stuff up).

First, Rory Duncan, who emerged as the leading candidate in terms of the Kings’ criteria, pulled out because the process was taking too long.

Then a curious thing happened – certain factions of Eastern Province rugby, and social media, decided that the Kings had to have a black coach and so campaigned for it.

Former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers was the leading black candidate on the franchise’s radar, and so he became the cause celebre for the movement, despite the as yet unresolved conjecture around his qualifications not meeting the Kings’ criteria to the letter.

The fact that the Kings seemed reluctant to take on the quote-a-minute De Villiers didn’t seem to matter – the masses had spoken and he had to be the coach.

And so they called the whole process off and are still looking for a coach.

Soccer, by dint of recycling coaches among their 16 PSL teams or simply unearthing unheard of eastern Europeans, are past masters at this kind of administrative bungling, where they go looking for a coach and return with a silver-tongued baggage master.

There’s a rumour that persists about former Orlando Pirates coach Kosta Papic being a basketball coach before getting the job with the Buccaneers.

It’s probably not true, but for the purposes of this missive, it would go a long way towards explaining those consistent 5-4 scorelines under him.

That approach probably explains why Safa didn’t even bother to look for a coach when Stuart Baxter resigned, instead replacing him with his assistant and well-travelled juniors coach Molefi Ntseki.

Cricket has always acted as if it’s above such blundering, but the recent search by Cricket SA (CSA) for a director of cricket has been nothing short of disastrous.

Having announced what sounded like revolutionary new structures of a director of cricket and a team director, instead of head coach, CSA looks like it is trying to invent the wheel instead of actually being forward thinking.

By the sounds of it, former Proteas coach Graeme Smith was the favoured candidate, but, after reportedly head-hunting him, CSA still subjected him to the interview process – a full 10 weeks after it first approached him to take up the job.

Frustrated about how long the process was taking – and no doubt also because he would not be afforded the freedom he thought he’d have as the man in charge – Smith pulled out, leaving CSA with Corrie van Zyl as the logical choice.

The catch is that Van Zyl is currently suspended by CSA.

It’s one thing to cut budgets for marketing, but have these sporting codes cut the human resources budgets as well?

Follow me on Twitter @simxabanisa

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Cricket SA is considering replacing Mark Boucher with two coaches, one for red-ball and the other for white-ball responsibilities. Is this a good move?
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