South Africa captains, Cricketers’ Association apologize to fans, sponsors for CSA mess

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Dane van Niekerk, the captain of South Africa’s women’s team, has joined Dean Elgar and Temba Bavuma, the skippers of the men’s outfit, in apologizing to the fans and sponsors for the misdeeds of the administrators of Cricket South Africa (CSA), who faced suspension. The trio signed a statement along with Khaya Zondo, the President of South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA), calling the decision “disrespectful” on many counts.

Nathi Mthethwa, the South African sports minister, on Sunday, informed CSA of the ministry’s call to invoke section 13(5) of the National Sports and Recreation Act, withdrawing the government funding to the board. This was after the board failed to adopt a new memorandum of incorporation, paving way to have more independent directors.

“As players we wish to speak directly to the many sponsors of our beloved game. (We) recognise and acknowledge that your involvement in the game supports our careers and provides funding for the development of the game throughout South Africa,” read the statement released on Monday (April 19). “We apologise for the actions of our administrators who have undermined and betrayed your commitment to the sport.”

“Government intervention in the sport will have dire consequences, the full extent of which we do not yet know. These outcomes will in turn impact touring, broadcast rights and sponsorship deals. Ultimately the financial viability of the game will suffer and cricket at all levels will be severely prejudiced.”

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This incident casts a shadow over the future participation of the South African team, that returned after a successful tour to India last month. The Sune Luus-led unit won both the ODI series as well as the T20Is against the hosts. This was set to be a crucial year for the women’s sport, given that there’s the Women’s World Cup early next year followed by the Birmingham Commonwealth Games and a T20 World Cup in 2023 that South Africa are supposed to host.

“The Women’s team has enjoyed unparalleled success over the past 14 months, and the women’s game in South Africa is on the verge of significant expansion. The Women’s team has enjoyed unparalleled success over the past 14 months, and the women’s game in South Africa is on the verge of significant expansion,” it concluded.

Meanwhile, the Members Council filed their response on Tuesday, pointing out some of the misrepresentations of the interim board. The Council argued that the grave nature of the issue meant that the 24 hours span to review the new memorandum of incorporation wasn’t sufficient. It also said that some of the points that were presented to them were different from those discussed in the Special General Meeting, including the composition of directors.