Anne Vilas. © Central Gauteng Lions

Anne Vilas became the first female President and Chairperson of the Central Gauteng Lions (CGL) when she was unanimously elected to the post on Friday (May 22). Vilas, whose three sons and brother have all played cricket at various levels, has been involved in the sports industry for over 30 years – on the marketing front.

“I am extremely humbled to be elected as the first woman President and Chairperson of CGL and look forward to working with my two vice-presidents, Ebrahim Lambat and Batlhalefeng ‘Lucky’ Lesele, my lead Independent Director Ziyanda Ngcobo and all the board of directors,” Villas said.

“We look forward to growing all cricket in our province especially focusing on growing the game in townships and rural areas.”

“We understand that there are currently more pressing COVID-19 challenges and will not deter from those.”

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“As CGL, we are working with various organizations like Cricket South Africa; the Department of Health; Department of Sport, Arts, Culture & Recreation and SASCOC amongst others to ensure the safe return of our staff, clients and service providers, safe return to training and play.”

Vilas also announced the appointment of five independent directors – Prof. Garth le Pere, Zwelithini Vilakazi, Vikash Mathura, Ziyanda Ngcobo, Dr. Noma Nyembo, Ruqshana Hassan – who will serve as part of CGL’s new board of directors.

Former CGL President and Chairperson Jack Madisend expressed excitement at Vilas’ “historic” appointment, adding that she has a proven track record in helping cricketers along the pathway.

“Anne is extremely passionate about the sport; she has done a lot for many black African cricketers in Gauteng. She has held a lot of leadership roles at CGL, being the vice-president for two terms,” said Madisend.

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Additionally, Jono Leaf-Wright, Central Gauteng Lions CEO, said Vilas “ticks many boxes” and is the most experienced member of the board at the moment.

“In my limited time working with her on the previous board as vice-president to Jack Madiseng, in her role on the CGL Finance Committee, REMCO, Lions Board and other areas, I always found her to be a strong and very principled person,” Leaf-Wright said.

“As we move towards transforming CGL; gender equality and opportunities to show off the strength of women within our extended cricketing family is key. It is pleasing and exciting that a predominantly male dominated board unanimously elected the first female President of the Central Gauteng Lions.

“I am equally pleased that another female Board member, Ziyanda Ngcobo, a practicing attorney at one of South Africa’s top law firms, was also unanimously elected as the lead Independent Director of the CGL Board and confirmed for many that transformation on every level will be a priority and a top agenda item for the new Board,” he concluded.