Outgoing WPCA CEO Nabeal Dien reflects on ‘deeply fulfilling’ career in heartfelt letter to clubs

File image: Nabeal Dien

Outgoing chief executive officer Nabeal Dien has addressed Western Province Cricket Association clubs with a detailed farewell letter.

Dien’s tenure has ended amid the suspension of formal cricket around South Africa – and the world – amid the spread of the coronavirus.

“It is with great sadness, after a tremendous and somewhat treacherous times, that my Western Province cricket journey comes to an end,” wrote Dien.

“I sincerely wish to thank each and every one of you that have directly or indirectly impacted on my career at this proud and history-laden cricket association.

“It brings about the termination of over 20 years of service to a game and province that is immensely close to my heart. It is one that I have served in virtually every capacity – from youth, development, club, women, stadium, marketing and HR, to the highest elite levels of professionalism.

“The memories are still fresh in my mind, when moving from my school teaching days, into the Western Province Cricket Association’s former premises across the road at Monorgan.

“They were unnerving times, but also exciting with the prospect to effect real change burning within a much younger and far-less grey version of myself.

File image: Nabeal Dien (centre)

“My achievements during this period is not for me to mention here, however, I do take great pleasure in having witnessed the growth of wide-eyed teenagers such as JP Duminy, Vernon Philander, Rory Kleinveldt, Farhaan Behardien, Beuran Hendricks, Zubayr Hamza, Jason Smith and countless others (many playing all over the country and world today) that walked into my office with their parents for the first time. They matured into fully-fledged men that have served their country with distinction.

“They were all graduates of an exchange programme I initiated in 1998, with clubs in the United Kingdom and Holland, that was not only part of their cricket development, but rather on ‘education in life’. The programme saw over 50 cricketers ‘graduate’.

“The fact that WP women’s cricket is entrenched as one of the powerhouses in South African cricket is deeply fulfilling, for it was a moral decision to grow the women’s game long before it became popular, albeit with some resistance at the time.

“I will look back at my time at the Newlands Cricket Ground with great affection and fondness. Every hour spent burning the midnight oil and away from my family was indeed worthwhile, for only this wonderful game allows for the formation of friendships and bonds that will continue long after I leave this office, overlooking the most beautiful ground in the world.

File image: Nabeal Dien (fourth from left)

“My only fear is, that I leave the game now in arguably its greatest time of difficulty, with challenges being posed on all fronts. Our youth remain one of our biggest tests in terms of providing adequate playing opportunities despite many of the communities being infested with crime, vandalism, drugs and various other social ills.

“This is also starting to prove no different in the club cricket domain exacerbated by the City of Cape Town’s inability to provide and sustain the facilities required for a vibrant and equitable club cricket environment (a battle raging for years).

“Added to this, we have serious financial challenges at a national level, which will impact on the region – placing all our programmes, pipelines, events, etc, in jeopardy. To make matters worse, the Covid-19 pandemic has just provided a further battering to a system already in a state of collapse. The Newlands Cricket development finally came to fruition in February 2019, after a decade of research, deliberations, and meetings in which an enormous amount of time was invested.

“The past 15 months has seen the development create a toxic environment – one that unfortunately tainted my final year here at Newlands. It is my hope and prayer that board members, executive members, building professionals and partners all find themselves behaving maturely and ensure a project which will become the sustainability of the game in our region for a century to come. This I believe is all our collective responsibility.

“Again, thank you to each and every club and its membership for your unselfish attempts to keep
community cricket alive. I look forward to returning to Newlands in the near future as a spectator to watch the WP team and the Proteas perform to the optimum levels, for this remains the game of all our people.

“Thank you. Dankie. Nkosi.”

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