High spirited and passionate sports lover, Blanche Conradie is fast making a name for herself in the sports administration field. Whilst being involved in high performance sports, her love for student sports over the past few years, has allowed her to make a positive difference in her students/cricketer’s lives.
She believes that passion and hard work will help shape not just the future generation of cricketers, but also the future generation of doctors, engineers, writers, psychologists, entrepreneurs, teachers etc.
The feisty Pretoria born sports administrator, firmly believes that, it is important for women to realise that they can either perform on the field or in management and/or administrator positions at any level. There is sometimes a perception for us as women, that just simply because you are a woman, you can’t do it or you won’t get the position. But she believes and has seen it first hand, that through working hard and using your opportunities you will get to where you dream to be.
Blanche took time out from her busy schedule to chat to gsport.
Thank you, Blanche, for taking time to chat to us, please tell us about yourself?
Thank you, for allowing me the opportunity to chat with gsport. I’m born and bred in Pretoria. Went to school in Pretoria and did post matric studies at University of Pretoria. I completed my BCom Sports Management and BCom Sports Management Honours degrees at Tuks. During my undergraduate studies I started doing after-hours work at TuksCricket to gain practical experience for my degree.
I thereafter became a part time administrator, which turned into a full-time administrator position and eventually I became Club Manager in 2016. Working at TuksCricket has been incredible so far.
Through the years I’ve learnt so much from my colleagues, experienced so many great cricket moments with the team and seen so many players excel both on and off the cricket field. My work with Tuks gave me the opportunity to become the SA USSA Team Manager and from there I was appointed as the SA U19 Men’s Team manager.
I participated in hockey at school but I enjoy endurance sports. I completed my first virtual marathon last year and my first official one this year after starting to train for that when lockdown started. I also enjoy long distance cycling and I used to do open water swimming. I completed ten Midmar Miles and five Cape Town Cycle Tours.
Where did your love for sport come from?
My family has always had a love for sport. Growing up we used to watch sport on TV, play backyard cricket or do fun runs. By the time I was eight, my parents had exposed me and my brother to live sports, as we used to attend rugby and cricket matches. Apart from my parents, my love for sport also came from my grandfather who played cricket for Waterval Boven Cricket Club in his youthful days. He also took up an administrative role and was club Chairman. He used to talk about his personal experiences as a cricketer and even went as far as telling us about the live cricket matches, he watched at Wanderers.
Please tells us about your journey to becoming USSA Cricket Chairperson?
I was elected as the USSA General Secretary in 2017, a position I held for two terms. During that time, I was also appointed as the SA USSA Team Manager alongside my Tuks colleague, Kruger van Wyk who was appointed Head Coach. At the end of my term as General Secretary, I was elected as vice-chairperson for the USSA Cricket Executive. As a committee we had a tough time when the pandemic hit. Despite our efforts to try and find cricket opportunities for the students, further lockdowns and waves made it impossible. During the 2021 BGM, I was elected as Chairperson of USSA Cricket.
Sinenjabulo Gogwa became the first female to play at the recently concluded, USSA cricket tournament, how monumental is this for aspiring female cricketers wanting to play at this tournament, and are there any future plans for having a women’s team play in the tournament?
This was a great moment for us to have woman cricketers in our event. This is definitely an area we want to focus on going forward, as there are currently there are not enough women student cricketers at our member universities to be able to put together a competitive tournament. University cricket is a major part of the cricket pipeline for men’s cricket, and we want to try and do the same for women’s cricket.
What are some of the challenges you have faced as a female in a male dominated sport?
I have been very fortunate that my colleagues have always supported me in the work I do and the goals that I have.
At TuksCricket, almost half of our staff compliment is made up of females, and we are all (male and female) a tight-knit family who support each other, and work incredibly well together. In the USSA and SA U-19 environments, I experience the same respect for who I am and the work that I do.
When I originally started working in cricket, I used to receive a few strange looks, as I used to be the only female attending a meeting or function. I have never regarded myself as the only woman in a man’s world though.
My mom started as a female lawyer in a time when that was still a predominantly male world, and she taught me that through hard work you can earn the respect of your peers and excel in what you do.
You were named the SA U19 Men’s Team Manager, that will be jetting off the ICC U-19 World Cup. Kindly tell us more about this and what it means to you and your career in sport?
I started as manager, with the new management group in October 2020. We’ve worked hard with this group of players and we are very excited to be competing in the tour against the West Indies and the upcoming ICC U-19 World Cup.
It has been quite a journey with these players. When few of our tours and tournaments were postponed, we had to find new playing opportunities for them locally. I’m very excited for the next few weeks and to see what the team can achieve.
What are your goals post ICC U19 World Cup?
After the pandemic took its toll on amateur cricket, especially at club and university level, I’m excited to finish the first “normal” club season after lockdown, including national weeks.
I’m also excited along with the rest of the USSA Cricket Executive to find new opportunities for our university cricketers to participate in. This will further develop the CSA pipeline for the future provincial and national players.
What do you think of gsport and the impact it has on women’s sport?
Whether it is on or off the field, gsport does amazing work in promoting women in sport. It is a great platform for us to celebrate our female colleagues’ work and achievements and to highlight some achievements that go unnoticed. It gives us as women in sport a community to be involved in.
What advice would you give to young girls out there wanting to pursue a career in sport?
You need to love what you do and work hard. I’ve been fortunate to work in high performance environments where in everything you do, you do it to strive for excellence. You work long days, work on weekends and do not have the same off as your friends, but if you love what you do, this isn’t even a factor as every day brings new excitement and if you work hard, you will definitely reap the rewards of it.
Photo Caption: Newly appointed Cricket SA U19 Men’s Team Manager Blanche Conradie is fast making a name for herself in the sports administration field. Photo: Supplied