Interview with Crusaders Chairman Wesley Cowan

Crusaders have struggled in the off season with no continuity in the Chairmanship in recent years. They have lost players to other clubs. Ismail Adam chats to Crusaders Chairman Wesley Cowan on the route passed and the road ahead for his club.

Ismail Adam (IA): Why did players leave for other clubs at the end of 2011 and start of this season?
Wesley Cowan (WC): It started off with poor administration / management at the top level. We lost 20 first team players over two seasons and two first team coaches at the beginning of the past two seasons. I wouldn't really say they were "poached" and neither can I comment on whether they were lured by large sums of money being offered elsewhere as I don't know the details of their contracts. The players just had issues.

IA: As the new chairman, what are your plans to prevent a similar occurrence?
WC: We have put a strong committee in place to overlook all management and administrative tasks. In recent years we only had one Chairman and one Club administrator running everything. The whole committee concept used to be in place previously, it was then stopped. However, we have brought it back and hopefully things will fall back into place.

IA: Who and where have the new players come from?
WC: Four weeks ago there were only eight guys that turned up for training. A recruitment drive was then put into operation. We had four local guys (one Zimbabwean) come in. Three of them have played varsity cup and one has played for the Valke. We have two guys from the UK who played in the National League 1 over there. They arrived yesterday, trained tonight and will be introduced into the first team tomorrow night. One plays wing/ fullback and the other centre.

IA: Tell us about your sponsor Telnet?
WC: Telnet came on board in mid-February and they have been integral to our development ever since. The expenses of running a Premier Division Club are monumental and they have come to the party. I would like to mention Marshall Security as well who are our secondary sponsor. We hope that with good achievements it will be long term for everyone involved.

IA: The KZNRU is pleased to know that you have put up your hand and taken over the position as Chairman. How difficult a task has it been, and what are your expectations?
WC: I knew from the start that it would be a challenge. However I have to give credit to the coaching staff who have been monumental and have also lifted their hands. I wouldn't be able to do it alone. We all have done it together as a team. Being hands on and as a player, it makes my bond closer with the players. It is very fulfilling knowing that we have sides to compete in the leagues. The tasks are to make sure that we field two opens sides and an Under 20 side. There has been a drastic improvement in all aspects since the beginning of the year.

IA: How are the Under 20s doing?
WC: There is a lot of potential in that team. They have lost a couple of games but we must bear in mind that the team was put together very late and haven't had much practise together. I want to thank Ruloef Kotze and Hans Scriba (both of The Sharks Academy) for making the team possible. Without them it wouldn't have happened.

To give more exposure to Club Rugby and to improve content and information on the KZNRU Club Rugby Website, Ismail Adam has agreed to assist. Ismail is studying journalism at the Durban University of Technology and is keen to help us raise the profile of Premier Division and other Club Rugby.

His first assignment was to meet with new Crusaders R. C. Chairman, Wesley Cowan. Crusaders R. C. has a proud history of winning the Premier Division on several occasions (1993-1996 and in 1998) and is the only KZN Club that has won the National Club Championship on two occasions (1993,1994). Of late the Club has been struggling to regain their glory years of the nineties.