On Tuesday, Cricket South Africa’s chief executive, Thabang Moroe, held a media briefing to provide clarity on predominantly the new Proteas coaching structure, but also various other issues.
Clarity, however, may be rather arbitrary in this saga.
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However, these are the governing body’s answers to four vital questions.
Why did the coaching structure actually need to change?
We’ve had to determine a new strategy for the future of South African cricket. We’ve had “Project 654” (the mission to overturn a projected R654 million loss over four years) as well the restructuring of domestic cricket. A lot of our strategy sessions ended up being about the national team and what we wanted to achieve with them. We wanted to bring the national team closer to the organisation, so that we are seen as one.
Having better communication lines with the team. Another thing we identified was the style of play. To us, as management, that wasn’t really clear. We also want to change the culture for various reasons, be it administrative, communicative or brand management. That’s not saying our current culture of #ProteaFire is being done away with. We want an organisational culture that also exhibits that, a culture where the team is expected to act in a certain manner when representing CSA.
For us to adopt this strategy, accountability is a key factor that we discussed. For a so-called clear line of sight, we then took most of the responsibility that used to lie with the board away and are now passed on to the CEO, myself. In turn, I was encouraged by the board to empower team management with decision-making powers and make them accountable to me.
It obviously took a lot of effort in our presentations to the board to convince them to take away their powers and essentially give it to CSA management, but that’s just to be able to hold management to account should we get to a point where the board is not are satisfied with the performances of the national team.
Has the structure been implemented because the national players were becoming too “loyal” to players union Saca?
Yes, there has been a bit of a disconnect between the players and CSA. The players are not to blame, it’s the organisation self. Too much of the human resource capabilities that CSA should’ve been performing on behalf of the players were outsourced to Saca (South African Cricketers Association). Naturally, what such a situation does is drive the players more toward who are looking after them, or who are seen to be looking after them.
With our restructuring, this was obviously one other thing we looked at. How do we now slowly starting taking these responsibilities back? We need to bring the players closer to CSA so that they can better understand when the organisation is making changes and what is informing those changes.
It’s now a one-stop shop. There’s no reason for me as CEO now to have to go to board level to get something approved that the director of cricket has requested. We’re now empowered to make decisions. This is where the buck stops.
Is the selection veto power – first mooted earlier this year – for the CSA CEO back on the table after being shelved?
That policy has always been in place. What’s happened previously is that we haven’t reached our transformation targets in the past and didn’t reach them again. It’s a concern for the board. We now have to go back to the ministry and explain. At the relevant meeting where this issue was discussed, a few names were mooted as to who should have sign-off. It’s not a final say.
It’s a sign-off on the final XI on the day with the view of keeping targets that need to be achieved at the end of the year. The thinking is that the selector will have his own team. How that team looks demographically is not my problem as CEO. I would sign off irrespective of how it looks, but I would do so based on the fact that I communicated what is needed down the road to obtain the final transformation target at the end of the year.
If we go down the line and don’t reach the target, I’m accountable to the board. It wasn’t a selection veto, it was me giving reminders to the selector about how our targets look after each team selection.
The board has put the policy on ice, unless the board feels it’s needed for government purposes.
With the board and CSA management not having any first-class experience between those individuals and yet want to influence the playing style of the Proteas, won’t the power of the director of cricket become too concentrated?
If you talk about the playing experience of a specific candidate, I don’t really see it as that important to what we want to achieve. We are not judging your playing stats here, we’re after what you can put on the table when it comes to strategy and how you execute it. Also managerial skill. That’s not necessarily something you obtain by merely playing top-level cricket.
We have appointed some coaches previously with the required playing experience if I can put it that way and none of them have won us the World Cup. You have world-class, decorated players in soccer who’ve won Cups and awards, but who, when it comes to coaching professional players, are nowhere. And then there are men like Jose Mourinho, who achieved so much as a coach yet wasn’t an accomplished player himself.