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Sunday, August 14, 2022

#TuksSport: Q&A With Dr Rendani Mulaudzi, Celebrating His 20 Years Of Service

Dr. Rendani Mulaudzi joined TuksSport in 2000 as a Sports Manager. In 2007, he was appointed as a Deputy Director. With his widespread experience in the sport industry, in 2005, he starting serving as an Acting General Manager of AmaTuks.

Today, he is a TuksSport Deputy Director of Sport Management and Acting CEO of AmaTuks.

Here, Dr. Mulaudzi tells us more about his milestone mark of 20 years, and advice to aspiring sports administrators, managers, club owners, etc.

1. What does leadership in the sport industry mean to you?

Leadership in the sport industry means taking care of strategic and general management details so that the athlete/player gets the most benefit. This means that empowering people to plan for the short-, medium, and long term so that programmes are successful and sustainable. Effective leadership is being able to make a positive difference in others’ lives (athletes, players, colleagues, and the community) without taking credit for it. It is about being able to have the power to see oneself so that one understands one’s strengths and weaknesses and does not have to rely on others telling him/her that he/she is up to or not up to the job. Leadership also means knowing when to move on and ensuring that there are people who are able to succeed one.

2. What does a milestone mark of 20 years at TuksSport mean to you?

Children born in 2000 are now students of the University. Isn’t it amazing how time flies?  It has been an honour and a huge privilege to have been here at the start of a TuksSport that has become a juggernaut sport programme that for many successive years has been the programme of choice among all universities.

I was there at the beginning when the master plan designed by the retired Director of TuksSport, Mr. Kobus van der Walt transformed TuksSport into a leader in sport management, coach and performance management, and volunteer management. I was privileged to have been there and influential insignificant and non-significant ways towards the success of AmaTuks from 2005 to now; the establishment of the High Performance Centre (hpc); laying out of the Bestmed TuksAthletics synthetic and mondo tracks and building the of the clubhouse and technical area; laying out of the TuksHockey Astro and building of the clubhouse and so many other achievements.

More than the physical facilities, has been ensuring that athletes/players as well as my colleagues achieve their personal and professional goals. The intangibles such as where one influenced and changed someone’s life for the better, and where one thought a mundane act was just that, only to find out it benefitted someone tremendously, are the issues I remember dearly and will cherish as long as I shall live.  There are simply too many milestones to describe from the last 20 years. However, serving the students and colleagues at TuksSport and the University is the milestone that I am always thankful for. I was given the opportunity to do, as my father used to say, “nothing but the best is good enough” and had colleagues buying into it and supporting me until now.

3. What are the three key lessons you have learned from being a Sports Manager to holding the Deputy Director’s position?

I have learned a thousand plus lessons during my 20 years at TuksSport and the University of Pretoria. (a) I have learned to visualise/envision programmes and projects so that it is possible to achieve objectives as planned. (b) I have learned that it takes teams to achieve success and sustainability of sport club programmes.  Credit should always be given to my colleagues (sport managers, coaches, and professional personnel) for being there for me as and when I needed their support, skills, expertise, and talents. (c) I have learned how to get the best out of people without screaming and threatening. A kind word now and then, a gentle nudge in the right direction, a pat on the shoulder, a frank word when things were not going the way they are supposed to, and having colleagues who listened to me, has been a blessing.

4. You are also the Acting CEO of AmaTuks, where do you see the football club heading to after this season? Also, what are the plans of the club going forward that you can share with the public?

Football is facing a huge problem in the sense that there are no longer spectators to physically support their teams. Spectators are an important source of revenue for professional clubs and going forward until there is a vaccine for COVID-19, the new normal will remain.  This means that those of us involved in football must find new ways of keeping our spectators and fans interested and passionate about their teams.  

As far as AmaTuks is concerned, the idea is to get promoted into the Premier Soccer League as soon as possible.  The PSL is better funded than the NFD and there are more televised games.  Playing in the PSL gives AmaTuks, TuksSport, and the University media exposure that is worth over R100 million in a season.  Therefore, we are working very hard in putting together a team that can win promotion into the PSL, and with that, will come participation in the MDC where many of our student-players can participate in preparation for participating in Varsity Football.  

Furthermore, playing in the PSL would allow for investment in ensuring that talented youth can be recruited into the TuksSport High School Football Academy to get them to study at the university as well as provide opportunities for the few very talented ones to play for AmaTuks.  So, there is room to do a lot of developmental and empowering acts especially if there are adequate financial resources from the PSL that can be employed in youth development.

5. Where do you see TuksSport in the next 20 years, considering that you are also marking a milestone of 20 years this year?

The infrastructure is there to continue supporting the programmes that have made TuksSport exceptionally successful.  The people are also there who have the vision and expertise to ensure that TuksSport continues to become better than it is right now.  The future looks exciting because of the challenges brought by COVID-19.  Clubs will have to think outside the box to produce the same or better results than they have in the past.  I am excited to see young managers, both male and female, who are coming through and proving that they have what it takes to be successful.  

6. What is your advice to aspiring sports administrators, managers, club owners, etc?

They must know that sport is a controversial arena in which everyone has an opinion.  This implies sport administrators must be aware of social and political issues that are always in the public forum.  They must be persistent learners who are better informed than most people who are involved in sport, especially those in external sport governing bodies. They must be good listeners and noticers so that they are aware of things happening around them, and notice issues being discussed or in the news in sport. In other words, they must have a perspective. Having perspective means learning from those who have proven themselves to be absolutely professional in how they run different sport programmes.

As I have mentioned earlier, sport is about teams. Aspiring sports administrators and managers must value the team – it all begins and ends with the team comprising both leaders and followers. Everyone has roles and responsibilities they must take care of to the high standard expected. Last but not least, aspiring sports administrators, managers, and leaders must surround themselves with likeminded people, some of whom can serve as mentors and sounding boards when one needs clarity on issues.

(SOURCE: University of Pretoria)

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