Last month Cricket South Africa (CSA) announced the creation of a new management structure for the Proteas with a lot of fanfare.
In essence the two people in charge would be the cricket director (overseeing all national teams and ensuring everything is geared towards the Proteas performing at its optimal level) and the team director (the former head coach with a new title). We were further told that the team director’s position was modelled on that of the team manager you find in the professional football leagues in Europe.
A team manager in professional football a) assembles his own coaching team around him (i.e. people he personally trusts), b) ultimately makes all team decisions (as in the words of former American president Harry Truman “the buck stops here”) and c) accepts that he would be the fall-guy if the team does not perform satisfactorily.
CSA would have us believe the moon is made of green cheese, because none of this is true about the position of team director. Instead, the CEO of CSA has been given the last say in all decisions of the team director. This includes selections, the Proteas’ style of playing and even the team culture of the Proteas. It is ridiculous. How will the CEO be able to do his usual job properly if he also has to oversee all national team issues?
Or ask yourself this, can you imagine what Juergen Klopp will tell you if these were the conditions of his appointment as manager?
But a more humble example of trusting your head coach and his management staff can be found closer to home. At the start of 2018 Brent Janse van Rensburg was appointed coach of the Griqualand West senior rugby team. Griqualand West has the by far the smallest budget of all the Currie Cup teams.
Crucially Janse van Rensburg was allowed to pick his own management team. The province had its internal checks and balances system, but Janse van Rensburg had the final responsibility. The result – for the first time since 1998 Griqualand West this year reached the semi-final of the Currie Cup.
The ultimate test for the new management structure, however, will be to see if the CEO gets fired or resigns if the Proteas don’t perform satisfactorily (as happens to managers in professional football). Somehow I don’t think so. When you have become power crazy those aren’t any options for you.