‘EP Rugby in need of change’

Former Springbok squad member Thando Manana has explained the reasoning behind his willingness to take up a leadership role at the embattled EP Rugby Union. CRAIG LEWIS reports.

With EP Rugby in the midst of an ongoing financial crisis, disgruntled clubs are set to launch another bid to remove president Cheeky Watson and his executive when a special general meeting is held at the end of April.

It’s believed that Manana is one of nine other potential candidates who could step into the vacancy if Watson is removed from his post should a vote of no confidence be successfully tabled at the 30 April meeting.

Manana, who played junior and then Currie Cup rugby for EP before moving to Griquas, has followed matters closely in Port Elizabeth, and said he felt compelled to be part of finding a solution.

‘For me, it’s certainly not a case of gunning for the presidency, but if it’s felt that my services could be of use in turning things around in EP Rugby, then of course I’d be open to it,’ he told SA Rugbymag.co.za.

‘I’ve seen first-hand the diabolical things that are going on in that region. It’s not going to take a one-man repair job, but if I could a play a part in bringing about some much-needed change, then it would be an honour and a privilege to be involved in the leadership. I certainly have plenty of ideas as to how improvements could be made.’

Manana toured with the Springboks in Argentina and the United Kingdom in 2000, but never earned a cap. He is now a radio personality with the SABC.

‘As a rugby person, it has pained me to see what’s happened in EP Rugby. I’m happy where I am at the SABC, but looking at the way things are in Port Elizabeth, there is clearly a need for integrity, dignity and financial security to be brought back to EP Rugby.’

In anticipation of the upcoming special general meeting, the Rugby Transformation Coalition (RTC) has clearly already put a succession plan in place. Other names believed to be on the candidacy list include Manana, Garth Wright, Tony McKeever, Bantwini Matika, Willem Oliphant, Brian van Rooyen, Mbulelo Gidane, Mpumelelo Tshume and André Rademan.

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