Moving on. The Protea’s Number One challenge is ……..

16 April 2024, Tuesday






Talent, Technique, Technology ,Training and Teamwork can only take one so far in life……….

One does not need to be inside the Proteas camp in England , to understand why the team produced a significantly under par performance at the ICC Champions Trophy.

They were missing one key ingredient. Again.

Cast your mind back to the recent World Cup 2015 in Australasia. The team dominated the pool stages only to be dumped out the tournament in the semi- finals by New Zealand. The players arrived back in South Africa gutted, not knowing how to bounce back.

By the time Ben Stokes  (258) and Jonny Bairstow  (150 *) smashed them to all corners of Newlands , their form had slumped to an all time low.

Then they made a significant move – coming together in an open hearted  ‘’culture camp ‘’ to discuss what had transpired – what was going wrong .A reality check .

They thrashed it out together  – with no holds barred – the players saying how what had transpired off the field of play before the World Cup semi- final loss –  had changed things and played heavily on their minds.

It had an adverse affect on their performances .

The team had entered ”a tunnel”, and something was needed to get them out of that tunnel.

What was missing in the team was what every great sporting team needs and wants ( and deserves )  :


Certainty builds confidence in all sports, but in cricket where milli-seconds and milli-metres are the fine line between in and out – it becomes the key ingredient –  the silver bullet.

Coupled with mutual trust and focus, certainty takes teams to the top.

The Proteas rebooted – off the back of a culture of  ”creating certainty” – and bounced back fast with some scintillating team and individual performances over the following 18 months.


Credit must go to all the players themselves . And the new selectors .

All looked rosy again. They had found the right formula. The right culture.The right certainty .

But, by the time they arrived in England, that ”LEVEL OF CERTAINTY ” had all but evaporated.

Gone. Again .

What can we learn from it?

  • Uncertainty over THE COACH

It’s no secret that Russell Domingo’s job is on the line. That does not argue well for a team who wants to lift a trophy. Even AB de Villiers, on a number of occasions, had to publically defend his coach’s position.

That’s just energy sapping stuff for any captain , any team.

  • Uncertainty over THE CAPTAIN

No one can doubt AB de Villiers’s cricketing genius , but he’s simply just not the right man to captain the Proteas .

When one’s coach is under fire , its vital to move quickly to put a 100 % committed captain at the coal face – one who can create certainty amongst his players .

AB has clearly indicated to all – that he is no longer available at all times for selection.

Why chose a different captain for different formats of the game, especially when Faf du Plessis has excelled in leading the team since the ” re-boot ”.

If you chase two rabbits – you will not catch either one : Russian proverb

All one is achieving by selecting two captains –  is creating an increased level of uncertainty – creating doubt within the team .

All it takes is one small ‘’kernel of doubt ‘’ off the field of play – which will go on to manifest itself as doubt on the field of play .

A high level of uncertainty ( in decision making ) off the field of play, will always translate into a  high level of uncertainty ( in decision making ) on the field of play.

Like attracts like in real life –  and in sport

Poor calls are made.

No wonder we witnessed so many  ”runs out” – even amongst our most experienced players who are all great runners between the wickets.

If you want to WIN the big tournaments on the world stage you must:


And this must happen before the team leaves SA shores. On arrival it’s up to the Coach and Captain to maintain that level of certainty .

Sadly the key ingredient, called CERTAINTY, was missing in England.

Certainty is the catalyst in the potent  ”Cocktail of Champions ”called : F.C.B.


And Fear, Doubt and Worry are their very poor cousins .

Teams will always do their best – when they are prepared – and relaxed (more certain of things )

But, all is not lost for the Proteas.



In Faf du Plessis we have a great leader who can certainly turn things around again. He has some great players to call on – including his great mate AB de Villiers , albeit from time- to- time.

It’s time to bounce back stronger – and wiser.


Key Insight:

Whether you’re a CEO, Manager , Coach or Captain – it’s your job is to create certainty –  so that your team is allowed to play to their greatest potential.


Rob Opie is a Brand Expert, Entrepreneur , Author, Speaker, and Performance Coach to Business Executives, Corporate teams, Sports teams and Individuals.


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