Victor Mpitsang, the former South Africa medium pacer, has been appointed CSA’s convenor of selectors, replacing Linda Zondi. He will start work on a full-time basis on November 2.
Mpitsang’s first assignment is likely to be to select a men’s white-ball squad to play England. The series will start on November 27*, and will be the first international cricket in South Africa since March. He will also be responsible for choosing a new men’s Test captain, after Faf du Plessis stepped down in January.
At that time, Zondi was in the post as an independent selector, working alongside director of cricket Graeme Smith, head coach Mark Boucher and limited-overs captain Quinton de Kock. South Africa have not had a full selection panel since the 2019 World Cup. Instead, they have since sought to restructure the committee into a single office, with the convener responsible for selection of the men’s, women’s and Under-19 national sides, and for working with the high-performance structures.
The position was advertised last year and interviews were held in September, with candidates including Lions selector Patrick Moroney and former national selector Hussein Manack. Zondi was not among those shortlisted for consideration. Mpitsang, who was the convener of selectors for this year’s Under-19 World Cup squad, which placed eighth, was chosen for his knowledge of the system at all levels.
“For the last eight years since my retirement, I have consciously looked to learn as much as I can about this game and I have put in many hours gaining that knowledge and experience. I’m really looking forward to this next chapter and all that it brings”
“The role for the National Convenor of Selectors is an incredibly important one, which is why the process of appointing the eventual candidate has taken so long,” Smith said in a statement. “We needed to be certain that we have left the role in the safest hands possible and Victor’s credentials speak for themselves. He has made it his business to know the ins and outs of cricket after his playing days, from KFC Mini-Cricket, all the way to the senior Proteas men’s and women’s teams. His experience as a coach in our various development programmes means that he has the kind of knowledge and context that was crucial in our chosen candidate.”
Mpitsang, 40, played two ODIs in 1999, and retired from the game in his early 30s after a first-class career spanning 103 matches, in which he picked up 245 wickets at an average of 29.80. He also played 100 List A games and 23 T20s, in which he picked up 88 and 15 wickets respectively. Since hanging up his boots, he was worked as a commentator and coach, including as a bowling coach for the South African Under-19 side.
“It’s an honour to be called up for this role,” he said. “For the last eight years since my retirement, I have consciously looked to learn as much as I can about this game and I have put in many hours gaining that knowledge and experience. I’m really looking forward to this next chapter and all that it brings. The Proteas teams are a vital part of the cricket eco-system and there are areas that need our immediate attention, which I’m itching to get started on.”
Mptisang’s appointment completed the full staff complement that will work under Smith and the raft of changes at CSA since December last year. Boucher was appointment in December, with Enoch Nkwe, Charl Langeveldt and Justin Ontong as his support staff, Hilton Moreeng was reappointed as national women’s coach in July, and in September, Neil McKenzie was put in charge of all batting structures, Malibongwe Maketa given the reins at the national academy, and Shukri Conrad named Under-19 coach.
At the administrative level, CSA are still without a permanent CEO, almost 11 months after Thabang Moroe was suspended. He has since been fired and the organisation has a second acting CEO at the helm. They also do not have an elected board president, after Chris Nenzani resigned in August and the September 5 AGM was postponed. And they remain at loggerheads with the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), who have demanded that the board and executive step down while an investigation is held into CSA’s affairs. CSA have six days to respond to convince South Africa’s sports minister Nathi Mthethwa, who last week made public his intention to intervene in the organisation following their refusal to comply with SASCOC.
Update following the government go-ahead at 3.20pm GMT on October 21, 2020