Titans Cricket Chief Operating Officer, Patricia Kambarami, is the 2015 gsport Woman of the Year. She received her award from Big Five Duty Free’s Helena Melis, after beating off stiff competition from Kaizer Chiefs Marketing Director, Jessica Motaung, and Orlando Pirates media officer, Thandi Merafe.
Kambarami paved the way for other female administrators when she was appointed as the first female COO in South African Cricket. She is the first and only woman to hold such a senior position with one of the country’s six professional cricket franchises.
Formerly the marketing and events manager of the Titans, Zimbabwean-born Kambarami now occupies one of the most demanding positions in South African cricket.
When she was appointed, Titans CEO Jacques Faul hailed Kambarami as a hard-working stalwart of the franchise who, during 11 years as marketing and events manager, demonstrated unwavering commitment to the Titans’ cause.
In 2003, Kambarami worked as venue assistant for World Sport Nimbus, an organisation that managed the commercial property of the International Cricket Council at the Cricket World Cup in South Africa and Zimbabwe.
When the position of marketing manager at the Titans became available, she successfully applied for the position, starting working in Centurion in October 2003. Kambarami was also the driving force behind the successful Momentum eKasi Challenge, which brings together The Unlimited Titans and the Bizhub Highveld Lions, to play a pre-season match annually over a four-year period, alternating between Pretoria and Johannesburg.
Kambarami’s curriculum vitae is the envy of many cricket administrators in South Africa, and it continues to grow.
She has an MBA from Nottingham Trent University in the UK, a graduate diploma in marketing management from the Institute of Marketing Management in South Africa, and a certificate in sports events and project management from Wits University’s graduate school of business.
A mother of two boys and a girl, Kambarami is still burning the proverbial midnight oil to finish another degree, a Masters in Sports Law, through the De Montfort University in Leicester. She enrolled in 2013, and hopes to complete the degree in 2016.
She spoke to gsport about her rise in South African sports administration.
Patricia, how does it feel to win the gsport Woman of the Year award?
It is a great honour. I am grateful for the recognition I have received for the work that I do and enjoy.
How did you get into sports administration?
I come from a very sporty family. Sport was engrained in me at a very early age. I was fortunate early in my career to work for a hotel group that sponsored tennis and cricket. This was a huge part of my portfolio and gave me a good foundation. I was also involved with youth football and basketball.
What do you attribute to your success in sports administration to date?
I have great support from the people around me and am also fortunate enough to work with a great CEO. I am passionate about sports development at grassroots level, and have enjoyed taking the professional game to the township.
How have you overcome career challenges over the years?
Mastering negotiation skills to get to middle ground is key. Appreciating and understanding that people have different opinions and that it is these differences that make our organisation a success. Knowing how to take on responsibilities when the organisation was shaken up by the sudden passing of the then CEO a couple of years ago.
What is your advice to aspiring sports administrators?
Pay special attention to detail and never take things for granted. Operating in a senior capacity comes with additional responsibilities.
Be passionate about what you do. Never give up when the going gets tough. Listen to other team members.
What is your ultimate career goal?
To rise in sport management internationally and to give back and impart my knowledge and experience.
What can be done to raise the profile of women in sport in SA?
Media exposure is important: Creation of tournaments in various format of cricket for women which can be broadcast live; and
A growth in sponsorship for women’s sports.
Photo 1 caption: Titans Cricket Chief Operating Officer Patricia Kambarami accepts her 2015 gsport Woman of the Year trophyt from Big Five Duty Free’s Helena Melis, after beating off stiff competition from Kaizer Chiefs Marketing Director, Jessica Motaung, and Orlando Pirates media officer, Thandi Merafe. Photo: Rebecca Hearfield / gsport
Photo 2 caption: Not satisfied with cricket in the well-known stadiums, Kambarami has been instrumental in the successful Momentum eKasi Challenge: “I am passionate about sports development at grassroots level, and have enjoyed taking the professional game to the township,” said Kambarami. Photo: Rebecca Hearfield / gsport