Photo Credit: Cricket South Africa
Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) Non-Independent Director Daniel Govender is a man on a mission.
The veteran administrator and former President and current Vice-President of the KwaZulu-Natal Cricket Union (KZNCU) wants to ensure that governance and stakeholder relations become entrenched within the culture of the game’s mother body in the country.
And Govender is driving this agenda at CSA after being brought on to the new Board last year.
“My hopes and dreams are for the administration and the governance of the game, especially from a stakeholder’s perspective, to be strengthened,” he says. “When I talk about stakeholders, I am referring to the players, the sponsors of the game, management, the Board…I’d like to see all these different parts of cricket become one strong unit with good leadership at the forefront.
“There really needs to be sound governance out of Cricket South Africa because this is something that has been lacking in recent years.”
These are strong comments from a man that has grown to love the sport after spending most of his early years despising it.
Born and bred in the little-known town of Umzinto on the KZN south coast, Govender spent all his schooling years occupied by other sports.
“Growing up in the dorpie of Umzinto, the only sport that we played, and was relevant, was football,” he recalls. “That was the major sport in the area during apartheid days. There was the Umzinto Cricket Association, but we had no interest because cricket was regarded, and to put it bluntly, as a white man’s game.
“At school I played football, volleyball and also was very active in athletics. Again because of the apartheid situation, I deliberately tried to stay away from cricket.”
It was only in late 1970s that he was eventually sucked in to play, that too after plenty of persistence by legendary local, Ravi Padayachee.
Govender continued: “When I finished school, Ravi continuously tried to get me involved in game. He was a cricketing kingpin in the area at the time, one of the many Padayachee brothers and then we had seniors like Ahmed Amla. Out of respect I couldn’t tell them no.”
His first experience of playing the game was also an interesting one.
“I was at the ground, not to play, but to see some of my friends. Ravi, who was twice my size, called me over and asked me to wear one of his oversized pants as they were short a player for a club game. And I couldn’t say no. I was not even registered. So, I went out to field and the rest, as they say, is history.”
Govender was going to college around the same time and became involved in temporary teaching. As time progressed, his love for the game continued to develop and flourish; first as a player and eventually as an administrator. This led to positions such as the President of the Tongaat Cricket Union (TCU) on his journey to the KZNCU leadership.
During his 10-year tenure at TCU, he placed a strong emphasis on development. Govender established a legacy where every one of their affiliated clubs needed to have three junior teams at Under-11, U13 and U14 level with all players having to come from within the Tongaat area.
Outside of cricket, he also has vast experience within the local government sector – serving the eThekwini Municipality for 36 years – and is a Senior Academic at Regent Business School. The 60-year-old holds a Masters’ degree in Public Administration and an Honorary Doctorate: Public Administration through the University of Prowess, Delaware, USA.
With this outstanding pedigree in the boardroom and vision for excellence, Govender believes the governing body has to do a few things diligently to reach its goals.
“In order for us to achieve our dreams, we need to be open and transparent in our administration and to have sound administrators in key positions like we have done with the CEO (Pholetsi Moseki),” he explains. “This has now helped us establish some stability, together with other senior administrators that have been appointed.
“It shows that the Board is serious in getting its governance in place. One of the fundamentals to this is also the affiliates, the provincial side of the game. Without having strong affiliates, Cricket South Africa will not function properly. We have to provide these affiliates with the correct resources, they are key in this journey towards becoming a stronger CSA.”
Although progress has been made, Govender admits there is still some way to go before cricket can reach the heights of excellence that he and the Board desire.
“As the old saying goes: the proof of the pudding is in the eating and therefore the intention of this Board is to make the impossible, possible,” he adds. “So yes, cricket has done very well from 1992 to where it is now,” he adds. “In fact, I would say that we have transformed to a certain level. “However, there is still work to do and that is why we are here to try and make sure things get even better in the future.”