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RU Graduate to be first black CEO of PSL

Date Released: Fri, 29 April 2011 08:27 +0200

The Sunday Times can reveal today that Cambridge Mokanyane will be the man in charge at PSL House next season. He will become the first black CEO of the Premier Soccer League, taking over from Kjetil Siem, whose three-year contract expired last year. 

The Norwegian, whose family has already returned to Europe, was asked to stay on until his successor was identified.

Former SABC sports director Mvuso Mbebe and former SA Football Association chief executive Leslie Sedibe were rumoured to be frontrunners in the race to replace Siem. But Mokanyane has got the thumbs up.

The Sunday Times has been reliably informed that the PSL was faced with a choice between Mokanyane and Absa group head of marketing and communications, Happy Ntshingila.

A source familiar with the interviewing process disclosed that the PSL executive initially wanted to bring both men on board.

"They were so impressed with both their credentials they wanted both to join. The idea was to have Happy as the Chief Executive and Cambridge as the Chief Operations Officer.

"Both come from the branding side of marketing and this is an important criterion for the PSL position," said the insider.

But Ntshingila, who is said to be on his way out of Absa, apparently has other suitors and confided to close associates that he was not taking the PSL job.

This has left the 39-year-old Mokanyane as the main man.

"Cambridge also has a financial background in auditing and accountancy. The only thing left in the process is for Mokanyane to finish the psychometric test," said the insider.

Mokanyane graduated from Rhodes University in 1993 with a Bachelor of Commerce in accounting, tax, auditing and management accounting.

Born in Soweto, he is currently an executive at MTN and served as the telecommunications company's general manager responsible for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

From 2006 to 2008 he worked at SAB Ltd as the marketing manager of Castle Equity Brands.

Before that the man who lists football, camping, hiking and reading as his interests, spent 12 years as a senior marketing manager at Unilever.

"Mokanyane will assume his new office at the beginning of the new season. His contract with MTN expires at the end of the month.

"The man is so good at what he does MTN are also keen to keep him in their ranks. He is street smart and he is a football man and this gives him the edge in the cut-throat football fraternity," said the insider.

Past PSL chief executives include Trevor "British Bulldog" Phillips (two spells), Joe Ndlela, Robin Peterson and Siem.

The Norwegian had indicated his desire to have his contract renewed but chairman Irvin Khoza was eager to have a black CEO. Mokanyane is expected to play a major role in the upcoming TV broadcast negotiations.

By Kgomotso Mokoena and Bareng-Batho Kortjaas

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Picture by Gallo Images