Thursday, September 29, 2022

CSA: Muditambi Ravele – The Golden Woman of Sports Adminsitration

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A champion for women in sport, Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) Independent Director Muditambi Ravele, is bringing a different dimension to the administration of the game in the country.

The former school teacher has a vast amount of experience in multiple sporting codes, from football to tennis to handball to netball to athletics to boxing. She has literally seen it all – and with a fine success rate too.

Ravele’s latest challenge is cricket: trying to ensure it is governed correctly and at the same time providing equal opportunities for all.

This is not something the 60-year-old may have imagined when she first learnt about the sport during her studies towards becoming a teacher in the late 1980s.

“Growing up I hadn’t the slightest of interest in cricket,” Ravele, who was born and bred in Chiawelo, Soweto, said. “It was not even a sport in our community and I didn’t know anything about the game right up until I was at college.

“That is the first time I was exposed to it and that too was because we had no choice. We had to learn the basic skills of a few sports and cricket was one of them. It was part of the Physical Education course and we needed to know about it so that we could pass.”

It was a good thing she learnt these basics at the Transvaal College of Education because a few years later she would be tasked with teaching her co-educators about it when the sport was formally introduced to most of the townships and rural schools in South Africa.

“When cricket was first taken to black schools in the late 80’s, I was in Soshanguve at Reitumetse High School, which was identified as a community where the sport needed to be
played,” she recalls. “I was one of the few people who had been trained and understood the basic skills of the game. So, I had to train other educators as well.”

As fate had it, she left the education sector and joined the National Department of Sports and Recreation in 1996 where she was tasked with working with National Federations to assist them with their Development Plans because of the need to have impactful outcomes plans.

“I then worked very closely with the late (Former Director of Amateur Cricket) Khaya Majola to put together a development plan for cricket,” Ravele mentions.

“That is where I learnt a lot and we managed to assist cricket in putting together a five-year plan for development on behalf of the government.”

Following that milestone, her career path then took her to the then Pretoria Technicon in 1999 where she was appointed Head of Marketing and Transformation, becoming the first African/Black women to occupy the seat. Then came a stint at the Premier Soccer League (PSL) where she was General Manager for Marketing and Corporate Communications as well as a spell working for CATHSSETA on the 2010 FIFA World Cup programme.

From 2010 onwards, the sports-loving Ravele ventured into business where she explored project management, consulting, marketing as well as sponsorships and events. Her
company was tasked to do the dry-run for Mbombela Stadium in preparation the 2010 World Cup.

All through this time, she served a range of federations in the boardroom, whether it was as the President of Netball South Africa (NSA), the Chairperson of Boxing South Africa (BSA) or occupying the same role at Wheelchair Tennis in the country and internationally.

Whatever Ravele laid her hands on turned to gold. And now this determined and selfless personality is giving time to cricket, determined to make a difference.

“Cricket has so much of potential because of all the strides the sport has made so far,” she says.

“It has done a lot to change, but the game itself has been its greatest enemy. By this I mean that they do not communicate enough the work they are doing. With my experience from the various sporting codes and serving at National Sport Council/Sports Commission and SASCOC (South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee), I can tell you other sports do not do a lot, but they talk a lot whereas cricket does a lot but doesn’t make a noise about it to the public.”

Ravele has also been impressed by the development of the women’s game.

She continued: “The players are already being paid, meaning they are professional, making it one of the first sports to do this in the country, they are also paid well and much better than most federations, they receive the same resources as men, so there is a lot happening. But that shouldn’t mean that cricket is doing enough and there no issues, there are still a lot of areas that still need to be addressed especially around Diversity, Inclusion and Equality and within our members structures.

“But the problem is these things aren’t communicated and people don’t know about them. So, when cricket is criticised, it’s because people don’t know about it.

“One thing I couldn’t understand when I joined cricket, was why all the negative headlines compared to other sports? Now I know why.”

Since her appointment at CSA last year, Ravele has already worked towards setting up a women’s commission that will, amongst other things, cater specifically for women’s needs and review cricket policies in order to be women friendly.

“This is because women’s challenges are different to those of men,” she adds.

Amongst her other dreams is to see the establishment of a national school for development cricketers that focusses on black talented athletes as well as cricket becoming one of the priority code within university sport.

One thing for sure is that Ravele will not rest until her mission is accomplished.

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