‘Transformation and excellence are not mutually exclusive,’ said CSA president Chris Nenzani at the CSA Awards 2018 in Sandton on Saturday night.
Nenzani confirmed CSA’s commitment to creating more playing opportunities at the professional level, including a push for gender equality, when addressing South Africa’s top professional and amateur cricketers, coaches and administrators at the start of the CSA Awards 2018 gala event.
Nenzani also noted that it was his submission that, at the next CSA Awards evening, ‘the nominees for the Cricketer of the Year should cut across gender and should, of necessity, include women cricketers for this prestigious accolade. Women cricketers deserve recognition. Women cricketers deserve to be given the spotlight as a consequence of their performance,’ he said.
He also mentioned the recent ‘very successful’ Transformation Indaba that was attended by many of South Africa’s top cricketing minds.
‘One of the key outcomes of our Indaba was to remind ourselves that we are a non-racial, non-sexist organisation devoted to the principles of inclusivity and diversity. In our own particular context, to make us relevant to the society we serve, and the market in which we operate, this will always require interventions, particularly the principle to Africanisation of our cricket.’
Nenzani added that the Transformation Indaba also took a conscious decision to open more playing opportunities at the professional level of our cricket.
‘In this regard, we decided to increase the number of franchise teams from the current six teams to a number that will be determined in due course,’ announced Nenzani. ‘As CSA, we are obligated to ensure that equity and demographic representation right across our systems as long as the current apartheid geography exists in our country, a strategic and a biased system of address remains relevant. Cricket must remain a sport of choice for all. I believe we made significant progress last year in producing truly non-racial representative sides that have proven once again that transformation and excellence are not mutually exclusive. We can take pride in how this is reflected in the number and diversity of players chosen for the ICC’s select teams at the Women’s World Cup, the ICC Under-19 World Cup as well as the various ICC teams of the year as well as individual player rankings.
‘The fact that three black Africans have been contracted to various IPL franchises this year is indeed a watershed moment in every attempt that we seek to achieve redress. There is still a great deal that needs to be done, particularly in the field of gender equality, but I firmly believe that we are on the right track,’ he added.
‘In conclusion, this evening I would like to reaffirm CSA’s commitment to deepen the principles of non-racialism, non-sexism, inclusivity and diversity. Let us build teams that unite a nation, let us use cricket to contribute in forging a truly democratic and non-racial society, let us reject colonisation and disunity, let us recognise that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done, let us not allow the achievements of today to make us blind to tomorrow’s daunting challenges. Let us celebrate this evening together – it is our game,’ he said.
AB de Villiers' final standing ovation at last night's Cricket SA Awards 2018. Sad to say goodbye to someone who has made such a mammoth contribution to South African and world cricket. @abdevilliers17 @cricket_south_africa #csaawards18 #cricket #ab #abdevilliers #abdevilliers17 @supersporttv #supersport
AB de Villiers was honoured for his contribution to South African cricket over the course of his 14-year career. The big winner of the evening was Kagiso Rabada, who took home six awards for the second time, including the SA Cricketer of the Year award.
Proteas Women skipper Dane van Niekerk took the top honour in women’s cricket, taking home the SA Women’s Cricketer of the Year award.
ABOVE (l to r): Chris Nenzani, Dane van Niekerk, Minister of Sports Thoko Xasa and Kagiso Rabada.