This article appeared in The Herald of 4 February.
PORT Elizabeth sports administrator Riaan Osman has ticked off a long-held life goal from his bucket list after being appointed manager of the SA U19 cricket team that competed in Bangladesh last week.
The biennial ICC U19 Cricket World Cup began on January 27 and runs until February 14, with matches being played at venues such as Dhaka, Chittagong, Sylhet and Cox’s Bazar.
“I always strive towards being granted an opportunity to serve my country as team manager, so I was humbled by Cricket South Africa’s faith in me,” Osman, the deputy director of Madibaz Sport, said.
“This was the first time that I’d worked with a team at this level and I wanted to ensure that their only focus was on the field of play. My job was to ensure that the rest was in place.”
Defending champions South Africa were knocked out early after a shock two-wicket loss to Namibia.
Osman said the team were very disappointed and, although all the players were attending their first World Cup, had no choice but to put the loss behind them.
“It is always tough picking guys up from an unexpected loss, but we had a good chat, acknowledging our mistakes and are focusing on the next matches with renewed vigour,” he said.
Due to the perceived security threat in Bangladesh that led to Australia withdrawing, the only time they were allowed to leave the hotel had been for practices and matches, Osman said. “We were escorted by police wherever we went and were not allowed to leave the hotel without police presence – even for a haircut.
“This was the most frustrating part, but the squad accepted that the security measures were in place for their safety.” Osman said the management team – which included head coach Lawrence Mahatlane, coaching assistant Victor Mpitsang, analyst Kyle Southgate and physiotherapist Brett Edwards – had a strong work ethic and got along well.
“We also had former Indian cricketer Sriram Sridharan as spinning consultant to assist with our technique on turning subcontinent pitches.”
In a career spanning more than 20 years, Osman has been involved in cricket, hockey, astroturf and facility management, serving on several boards and at university level.
In 2005, he was appointed sport manager of NMMU cricket before accepting the post of Madibaz Sport deputy director.
He has also worked as liaison officer and manager for CSA and the England Cricket Board and is chairman of university cricket in South Africa.
Before being given what he called the honour of managing a South African team, he worked with international teams such as Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Ireland and IPL giants Mumbai Indians.
“I believe that to achieve anything in life one has to be prepared to work hard – nothing comes easily,” he said.
“I also value the holistic development of people, aimed at producing well-rounded individuals who can make a difference in society.”
Tel: +27 (0) 41 504 1111
Fax: +27 (0) 41 504 2574 / 2731
PO Box 77000, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Port Elizabeth, 6031, South Africa
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