Amongst football fans across the country he is known as the man who coached one of the most robust Orlando Pirates line-ups in the mid-90s. In the sporting boardrooms, he is popular for being one of the country’s brightest minds when it comes to aligning football and rugby teams with their desired on-field talent.
I remember seeing you on the Orlando Pirates bench in the mid-90s. Now years later, you are heading up one of the most consistent sports management companies. What was the inspiration behind the birth of Prosport International?
When I ended my involvement in coaching, I was approached by a number of young sportsmen and -women who asked if I would be interested in assisting them with their careers. Given my previous involvement in both sports and the business world, it seemed like a natural progression at the time.
What does being a CEO of a sports management company entail and what is your long-term plan?
My major task is to play an important role in defining the strategy of the company and ensuring its implementation. My desire is to hand over the business to those who have been loyal to the company and have been involved in the growth and sustained success of the brand.
You’ve had a career journey filled with diverse successes. Can you share a few?
I can honestly say that my biggest successes were born out of real low points in my multifaceted career. From being a chemist to building bridges, coaching professional football and finally finding my real passion in life, which is what I am doing today. My time as Orlando Pirates’ head coach from 1994 to 1995, and as a technical advisor to the victorious 1996 Bafana Bafana team defined my future in sports commerce and I am grateful to those who gave me the opportunity to walk this path.
The sporting industry is very unpredictable. What keeps you committed to your role?
There are a number of factors, but the key ones are my love for what I do and the joy of seeing those with whom I work achieving greatness. The dynamics of the sporting environment also keeps me interested.
You not only have to lead the team you work with at Prosport International, but you also have to lead the talent that you discover and mould. This requires A-level leadership traits. How do you manage to achieve this?
My walk with God and my love for my family has set the foundation for everything that I do in life. I am not autocratic, but rather like to see myself as a leader who is democratic, humble and sensitive to those around me. In my opinion, the true art of leadership is being able to lead by example and to find an equilibrium between having compassion for those whom you lead without allowing this to be perceived as a weakness, and also having the strength and wisdom to make difficult decisions when the need arises.
Over the years you have managed to diversify the company’s service offering. In which areas has Prosport International expanded?
Prosport has evolved over the years from a predominantly player management company to a sports management company, which encompasses a number of different facets related to sport – including hospitality, owning and managing events, PR and marketing, sponsorships and endorsements, and brand matching and activations. We are most active in the areas of football, rugby, cricket and horse racing. We are looking at getting into boxing.