This week the curtain came down on the career of one of South African sports more colourful characters.
Accomplished boxing trainer Nick Durandt decided it was time to walk away, his decision prompted by the failures of Boxing South Africa to uphold the integrity of the sport.
While the man who has produced a long list of champions had a dig at the powers that be instead of turning his back on the sport completely he did something almost out of the ordinary for someone disillusioned with the state of play – he offered to help.
The rudderless BSA is set to have a new person at the helm as CEO with minister of sport and recreation Fikile Mbalula stating as much on his twitter account that he would soon be announcing a new management team to try and rescue the beleaguered organisation.
“Maybe I should offer my services to Mr Razzmattazz,” Durandt said with a grin on his face. “I definitely have the experience. I know how this sport works,” he added.
It’s probably not the worst idea. You see, Durandt has been a victim of BSA’s failings to uphold their own rules for far too often. The old story of tournaments cancelled at the 13th hour because procedures regarding purses weren’t followed to the letter. Or the wait for payment because tournaments were allowed to proceed without funds handed over.
It would probably only take Durandt – who also added he’d like to try help South Africa’s amateurs win an Olympic medal – a week to turn things around, if that, given his disciplinarian approach.
The failures of sports administrators have long been talking points and their misgivings when it comes to the best interest of athletes, across a number of codes, have given journalists plenty of ammunition.
Perhaps that is where the mark is consistently being missed. Why aren’t there any Olympic medallists running things at Swimming South Africa or their athletics counterpart? Is there a place for Olympic medal winning rowers, who brandish degrees, to get stuck in on an administrative level?
For it would seem that those roles are reserved for yes-men and women and for those who like the finer things in life. The VIP treatments and business class flights are great when you’re not paying for it.
Would it be remiss of me to suggest that someone like Roland Schoeman, the country’s most decorated Olympian, be offered a role at the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee? After all, he is well aware of the plight faced by athletes needing funding and support.
In an ideal world you’d find sports men and women, and those coaches with a track record for success, make the transition to the various boards and roles required to try and foster some continuity.
But maybe, the years of mistreatment, are enough of a motivation for them to turn their backs on the thing they once held so dear.