With the start of a bumper summer against England now just three weeks away, Cricket South Africa (CSA) finds itself on the ropes and desperate to win back a smidgen of public faith following a disastrous year.
Nobody is feeling the heat more than 36-year-old CEO Thabang Moroe, who has spent the last 48 hours putting out fires following a bizarre decision to revoke the media accreditations of five South African cricket writers over the weekend.
Moroe and CSA have since apologised for what he called a “mishap” and all of the journalists in question have been given the guarantee that their match day accreditations are active once more.
That in no way means that Moroe or CSA are in the clear, though.
National team sponsor Standard Bank, the South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA), the South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) and former CSA president Norman Arendse have all expressed concern at the current administration under Moroe.
The CSA Board will now meet on Saturday for a ‘special sitting’, after which Moroe and CSA president Chris Nenzani will brief media.
The actions of Moroe and new head of communications Thamie Mthembu are understood to be on the agenda for the meeting.
It is the latest hiccup in what has been an extremely testing period for CSA under Moroe, who was confirmed as the organisation’s permanent CEO in July 2018.
While the initial months under Moroe were stable enough, things have unravelled terribly this year. and the Proteas now find themselves without a permanent coach, director of cricket or convenor of selectors.
Here, we take a look back at the major issues that have manifested at CSA under Moroe’s watch:
July 16, 2018 – Moroe is named the permanent CEO of CSA having served in the role in an acting capacity for around a year.
July 17, 2018 – Moroe commits to CSA staging what would later be called the Mzansi Super League (MSL) that year. He confirms that SuperSport will be an equity partner in the product as well as the tournament’s broadcaster.
August 21, 2018 – SuperSport announce that they are no longer pursuing an equity share in the new T20 tournament but that they are still in discussions with CSA over broadcasting rights.
August 27, 2018 – Sunfoil pulls out as the sponsor of South Africa’s four-day domestic competition and of Test cricket in the country.
September 5, 2018 – Momentum pull out as the title sponsor of the national women’s side.
December 13, 2018 – Castle Lager unveiled as headline sponsor for upcoming Test matches against Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
February 23, 2019 – Sri Lanka make history by beating the Proteas 2-0 in a Test series on South African soil.
February 26, 2019 – Moroe expresses disappointment at the decision of fast bowler Duanne Olivier to leave South Africa on a Kolpak deal.
April 8, 2019 – CSA confirms that domestic cricket in South Africa is set for a major restructure, with Moroe keen on scrapping the existing franchise system for a more traditional 12-team provincial set-up from the 2020/21 season. Moroe says the projected loss of CSA over the next four years will drop from R650 million to R350 million because of the restructure.
April 9, 2019 – SACA express concern over how the proposed domestic restructure would benefit the game financially.
May 30, 2019 – SACA announce that they will be taking CSA to court over the proposed restructure, saying that they have been excluded from examining the detailed financials of the organisation.
July 19, 2019 – The Proteas’ dismal 2019 World Cup campaign comes to an end as they finish 7th.
August 4, 2019 – Coach Ottis Gibson and his entire backroom staff are sacked following the disappointment of the World Cup. It is later revealed that Gibson had been promised another contract with CSA as early as February.
CSA announces a new structure that will see the head coach role replaced by a team director, while there will also be a director of cricket. Enoch Nkwe is named interim team director and Corrie van Zyl is named acting director of cricket.
September 8, 2019 – CSA president Chris Nenzani defends Moroe after it is revealed that the organisation suffered a R200 million loss over the last financial year, thanks mainly to the cost of staging the first year of MSL.
September 22, 2019 – CSA places the Western Province Cricket Association (WPCA) under administration over the handling of funds in a Newlands stadium development. The entire WPCA board is suspended.
October 21, 2019 – The Proteas are humiliated in India, going down 3-0 in the Test series.
October 28, 2019 – SACA releases a statement claiming that it is owed R2.5 million from CSA in commercial player rights dating back to the 2018 MSL.
October 29, 2019 – Senior CSA officials Corrie van Zyl, Naasei Appiah and Clive Eksteen are all suspended for an alleged dereliction of duty relating to the R2.5 million SACA payment. They are banned from entering CSA headquarters. No public explanation is given as to how they failed in their respective roles and CSA confirms that the owed money has now been paid.
October 31, 2019 – SACA express shock at the suspensions, confirming that they had no dealings with Appiah in seeking the payment and adding that both Van Zyl and Eksteen had actively pressed CSA to resolve the issue.
November 14, 2019 – Former Proteas captain Graeme Smith removes himself from the running for the DOC role just six days after being linked. He says the negotiation phase with CSA has been “frustrating” while he is not certain he would get the freedom to operate in the role without interference.
November 26, 2019 – WPCA wins its arbitration case against CSA, who must cover all costs in the matter. CSA releases a statement saying they will not be opposing the ruling and the WPCA board is reinstated.
November 27, 2019 – CSA head of communications Thamie Mthembu makes waves when he is quoted by IOL’s Stuart Hess, saying: “I don’t know any reader who would be interested” when probed on who would be selecting the Proteas squad for the England series.
December 1, 2019 – CSA confirms that it has revoked the match-day accreditations of five South African cricket writers because of how they have covered ongoing events at the organisation. The decision is met with outcry on social media and SANEF, SACA, Standard Bank and former CSA president Norman Arendse all express concern at the current leadership.
The decision is overturned less than 24 hours later with Moroe apologising to all involved.
December 7, 2019 – CSA board to facilitate a ‘special meeting’ to discuss the current state of affairs. Moroe and Nenzani to address media afterwards.