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Episode 33: Thomas Abt - Greatness begins here

Newly appointed Sunshine Tour Commissioner Thomas Abt has taken over at one of the most precarious times in sporting history. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on sport in general, and on golf in this case, is likely to be profound. The cost of the pandemic might not fully be known for years to come, and Abt will be the person steering South Africa’s professional game through the turbulence. He has two decades of experience in the golfing industry. He started as an assistant golf professional at the Lost City Course at Sun City, before moving to Sports Marketing Company SAIL, where he became head of the golf division. More recently he occupied a dual role as deputy Sunshine Tour Commissioner while still at SAIL, but on 1 October, he moved on a full time basis to the Sunshine Tour. The Sunshine Tour’s motto is: “greatness begins here” and Abt aims to ensure that he and the tour live up to it.

Episode 32: Ed Coetzee - The business of rugby

One of rugby’s great myths is that the forwards are always the unthinking, heavy lifters, while the backs have all the brains. It probably comes from a small sample of players back in the sport’s sepia-toned past, but times have changed. Sharks CEO Eduard Coetzee was a prop – and a very good one at that – he played Super Rugby for the Sharks, for South Africa ‘A’ and spent eight years playing in France for Biarritz. He is anything but unthinking or brainless, and as rugby enters a new post-Covid-19 world, the challenges that the game faced before the pandemic ravaged the planet, have been exacerbated by six months of lockdown. Previous business models have to be torn up and re-engineered. For the next few years at least, professional rugby in South Africa and globally too, will be in a precarious position. It will take bold, innovative young leaders such as Coetzee to navigate a way through these turbulent times.

Episode 31: Corne Krige - The hard truth

As a rugby player he was tougher than complex quantum physics and more courageous than a wounded lion. He captained the Springboks 18 times and played 39 Tests at a time when Bok rugby was in a deep state of flux and going through coaches as quickly as Cheslin Kolbe goes through defenses. The enduring image of Corne Krige is one of a bloodied and bruised, but never cowed, player. He played every game as if it were his last – sometimes, by his own admission, stepping over the line whether in Western Province, Stormers or Springbok colours. Since retirement he has carved out a successful business career and stays fit on his mountain bike. Corne also keeps a close eye on rugby from the outside and is still passionate about WP and the Springboks. On the Maverick Sports Podcast he talks about the past, present and future of South African rugby and typically, pulls no punches.

Episode 30: Andrew Breetzke - Cricket at a crossroads

Cricket in South Africa is at a major crossroads. There is a leadership vacuum, a pending financial crisis, transformation, race and social justice issues as well as unease from sponsors and most importantly, players. It’s easy to forget the 315 players who make some form of a living in the cricket industry. It’s easier to forget the many lives that cricket supports through salaries paid to coaches, office, managerial and cleaning staff, and the many small businesses such as hospitality, cleaning and security services that the game supports. This week, a concerned Andrew Breetzke, CEO of the South African Cricketers’ Association, otherwise known as Saca helps us unpack the drama that is Cricket South Africa.

Episode 29: Haroon Lorgat: Cricket SA - A corridor of uncertainty

Former ICC and Cricket South Africa CEO Haroon Lorgat has seen it all in the game. From South Africa’s tentative return to the international arena in the early 1990s, to India’s rise to cricketing super power in the 21st century. He famously stood up to India at ICC meetings, both as CEO of the international organisation and of CSA. It was controversial and led to some spats, but Lorgat always put the interests of the organisation he was representing, and of the game of cricket first. After parting ways with CSA in acrimonious circumstances in 2017, Lorgat has returned to the private sector but has also been involved in the establishment and running of the T20 Pakistan Super League where he has brought his considerable knowledge to that tournament. With Covid-19 wreaking havoc with the playing schedule and CSA in a dire financial situation, Lorgat joins the Maverick Sports Podcast this week and pulls no punches in his assessment of the game, its past and its future.

Episode 28: Jacques Nienaber - Bok to the future

The old saying goes that defence wins World Cups and in 2019 that adage held true as the Springboks conceded a miserly four tries in seven matches at RWC 2019 to claim their third world title. The mastermind behind their steel was renowned defence coach Jacques Nienaber, who has spent more time than is healthy in dark rooms, lit by LED screens, watching men tackle each other. Jacques has been the power behind the throne for all of his coaching career but in 2020, he has stepped into the spotlight as the 15th post-isolation Springbok head coach. Normally he would have overseen his first Test matches by this time of the year, but due to the suspension of competition as a result of coronavirus, he is still waiting to lead the current world champions into Test battle. Until then, like a likeable Bond villain, Nienaber has time to plot and plan another four years of world rugby dominance, as he waits to unleash the Boks again.

Episode 27: Mark Andrews - Remembering RWC ‘95

He played 77 Tests for South Africa, 75 of those at lock. He twice played loose forward, and it was the two he played at No 8 that might be most remembered. Mark Andrews was a Springbok giant in every sense of the word, but in the space of seven days in 1995 he was asked to do a specific job by coach Kitch Christie, playing out of position in the back row in two of the most memorable and crucial games in South African rugby history. June the 24th marked the 25th anniversary of the Springboks winning the 1995 World Cup with a famous 15-12 victory over the All Blacks at Ellis Park. He won many accolades as a player and has gone on to achieve success in the business world. Mark won Currie Cups and a Tri-Nations title and played 94 matches in total for South Africa, but his name will always be synonymous with the class of 1995.

Episode 26: Wayde van Niekerk - Wings On His Heels

Wayde van Niekerk is unquestionably South Africa’s most accomplished athlete of all time. He is the only runner in history to break 10 seconds for the 100m, 20 seconds for the 200m and 44 seconds for the 400m. He comes from great stock as his mother Odessa was a world-class sprinter and Springbok World Cup winner Cheslin Kolbe is his cousin. The pair famously won medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics. In 2020, Wayde was hoping to defend the 400m title he so famously won in world record time four years ago but that will have to wait for at least another year.
The 2020 Olympic Games postponement due to the Coronavirus pandemic has moved the Tokyo Games to 2021. After nearly two frustrating years on the sidelines due to injury, Van Niekerk was demonstrating a good return to form earlier this year. So, while he was confined to training without competition, Wayde took time out to join the Maverick Sports podcast this week.

Episode 25: Graeme Smith - Born To Lead

He is considered South Africa’s greatest-ever opening batsman, but even more impressively, he is the country’s most successful captain having led the Proteas to historic series wins in Australia and England and the team to the top of the world Test rankings. Graeme Smith was appointed Proteas captain at 22, but quickly stamped his authority on the team. He was accomplished in all forms of cricket and had a sensational career on the field. He’s now turned to the administrative side of the game as Cricket South Africa’s director of cricket at 39. Given the challenges that face cricket both on and off the field, which are compounded by the uncertainty over the Coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe, these are difficult times for the sport. Smith doesn’t have all the answers, but when it comes to rebuilding the Proteas team and meeting challenges head-on, there could be no one better lead from the front than the man affectionately known as ‘Biff’.

Episode 24: Kagiso Rabada - Express Delivery

Kagiso Rabada has been an integral member of the Proteas set up for five years and he still has many years ahead of him to terrorise batsmen and rewrite South Africa’s bowling records. He was a schoolboy phenom who dominated under-19 cricket. But unlike so many who are touted as future greats only to fall away under the pressure of senior professional cricket, Rabada has improved at every level. It’s a rare athlete that gets better as the levels rise and the opposition improves. Right now, the coronavirus pandemic is robbing Kagiso and his teammates’ opportunities to play, but while he stays fit behind closed doors under lockdown, ‘joins us on the Maverick Sports Podcast.

Episode 23: Jake White - The Long Road Home

Newly appointed Bulls director of rugby Jake White has a clear vision of turning the franchise into the dominant force in southern hemisphere rugby. With the backing of wealthy owners at Loftus Versfeld, White has the means to see his project through. All he needs now is for the coronavirus pandemic to pass so he can start work in earnest. While he waits to get his hands on the team, he joins the Maverick Sports Podcast to talk about his journey; great moments of joy and despair, and to reminisce about some key incidents in a career that has spanned Himalayan highs and deep lows. White has his critics, but ultimately he has been successful with every team he has coached in a career that has spanned 35 years.

Episode 22: Rassie van der Dussen - The Road Less Travelled

He is the only batsman in cricket history to have made half centuries on debut in all three formats of the game - Tests, One-Day Internationals and T20s – and the only South African to score seven fifties in his first 14 ODI innings’. Rassie van der Dussen has taken the road less travelled to the top of the game. He made his ODI debut at 29 and his Test debut at 30, having ground out a career in the backwaters of local cricket. Unlike prodigies that emerge straight from high school into the national set-up, Van der Dussen took the better part of a decade to find his way onto the international stage, but when he arrived, he showed he belonged.

33 episodes

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