Sunday, October 2, 2022

CSA: Tebogo Siko – Changing cricket through a bottom-up-top-down approach

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Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) Non-Independent Director Tebogo Siko is a man who loves administering the game.

The Northerns Cricket Union (NCU) president, who was born and bred in Soshanguve, has been part of the sport’s boardrooms since the age of 24.

A former player too, his involvement with cricket began at the Soshanguve Cricket Club (SCC), who he has had a relationship with practically his entire life, both on the field and off it.

His route to the game began early in his primary school days when he was still seven or eight-years-old. Despite growing up as a natural athlete – one that has gone on to complete four Comrades Marathons – back then he did not have much choice when deciding which sport to play.

“Everyone around me at the time in the late 1980s was playing soccer, but I had two left feet when it came to soccer,” he chuckled. “I couldn’t play the game to save my life. I therefore had to find something else.”

And this is where the cricket journey began for Siko. The gentlemanly nature of cricket was a major appeal for him in those formative years, together with the opportunity to socialise.

“I really liked the way cricket was positioned, the atmosphere one would find himself in and the discipline associated with it,” he explained. “There was etiquette and class to it, nowadays we know of it to be dubbed the ‘Gentleman’s Game’.

“Soccer back then was a bit more rough and tough and cricket was gentler and safer. I also liked the traveling involved. So because of the locations of fields, we use to travel a lot to games and mingle as well with different townships and areas. That’s what really hooked me to the game.

“I played for a bit as a top-order batsman and off-spinner, but in those days the opportunities were limited, but I did the best that I could, before falling in love with administration.”

Siko served SCC initially as a club secretary before becoming its President in 2009, the same year he was elected onto the NCU Board. Nine years later he was appointed President of one of the country’s most successful unions.

An IT and Business Development specialist, the 41-year-old is amongst a host of diverse personalities ushering CSA into a new era after being appointment last year.

“If you look at the current structure of the Board, what stands out is the calibre of individuals involved,” Siko says. “The people here, they know and love the game. Like so many others, they want to see things being in a better state.

“Speaking purely from being a cricketing person all my life, and we know when we mention the last few years where we have been from there till now. But what I’ve seen now is that there is a bit of stability within the structure.

“The CEO (Pholetsi Moseki) has completed his executive team. The Board has been stable for a year plus now. The Proteas are playing well, the women have also been successful over a period of time. So things are very positive and I’m pleased with that. I can only hope that for the betterment of the sport it can move to even greater heights in the years ahead.”

Siko believes a strong Board will only have a positive impact on the results of the national teams, who he hopes can win a World Cup in the next few years.

“I usually say this to the Board at Northerns that certain things start at the bottom and certain things at the top,” he explains. “If you have a stable Board, you will have a stable Exco and then it will transform to the playing field. If those three departments can be stable, the main thing being that if the Board is stable, it will allow for the executive to do their jobs and that will mean the players not saying anything in public about the Board, which will lead to a more positive environment and greater heights for all.”

Having also been part and parcel of cricket’s on-the-field journey from its post-apartheid inception to the present times, he believes there is strong reason to be optimistic over the future of the game.

“What I love about it is that the opportunities are now there on the table for everyone,” Siko added. “Unlike in the period of Makhaya Ntini, everyone only knew of Makhaya, and the opportunity was only given to Makhaya.

“What we see now is that there is opportunity for everyone. We can see there are a lot of black players coming through and these players are given opportunities, with many of them going on to grab them as well. I think that if things continue to grow according to the projections, then soon, we’ll see a strong, competitive and well-transformed Proteas.”

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