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Profile - Ray Mali

June 07, 2007 16:45 IST

Ray Mali, who assumes the role of acting president following the untimely death of Percy Sonn, has proved himself to be a talented and committed administrator willing to embrace change if it is in the best interests of the game.

During his time involved with the administration of cricket in South Africa, he developed a reputation as a moderniser, born out of his instrumental role in restructuring the executive board of South African cricket's governing body and changing the format from the old provincial structure to the franchise system.

He has also been a strong advocate of the Twenty20 form of cricket as a useful way to promote the game to new audiences. As such, he has been vocal in his support for the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 which will take place in South Africa in September.

Mali's time as president of CSA was committed to giving equal opportunities to all those who want to play cricket and also to the development of South Africa's club cricket structures. He felt that the key to equal opportunity lay in capacity building, which he felt was the cornerstone of South African cricket's transformation policy.

Mali, full name Raymond Remember Mali, was born on 9 April 1937 in the Eastern Cape of South Africa and attended primary and secondary school in Port Elizabeth. He later went to Lovedale College, Alice to study for the Matric examination and then on to the University of Fort Hare, Alice (1959-61) where he earned his teacher's diploma.

He has a life-long passion for sport which started during his school days. In 1958, he captained both the rugby union and cricket first teams at Lovedale College and represented Eastern Province in both codes at under-19 level.

At university, he played number eight for the first XV in rugby and was selected for the Border provincial side in 1960. However, in 1962 he suffered a serious shoulder injury that was to herald the end of his playing career in both sports.

Originally a teacher by profession, he had spells working at Kama High School, Siseko Secondary School and Cradock High School, all in the Eastern Cape.

Mali soon found he had a talent for administration and from 1964-1970 he served as secretary of the Fort Beaufort Cricket Club in Port Elizabeth and in 1970 he was chosen to be vice-president of the EP African Cricket Board.

After South Africa was readmitted to the international cricket fraternity in the early 1990s, Mali remained heavily involved in the sport's administration in his home country. He managed a range of representative sides through the 1990s including the South Africa A squad on a tour to Zimbabwe in 1994 and the South Africa six-a-side team at a tournament in Hong Kong in 1997.

He served as a member of the executive of Eastern Province Cricket Board from 1991 to 1996 and of the Border Cricket Board from 1996 to 1999.

In 2000 he became president of Border Cricket Board and was also a board member of what was then the United Cricket Board (UCB) of South Africa. During his time as a board member he also sat on the Transformation Committee and was chairman of the Development Committee.

In 2003 he was elected president of the UCB, the first black person to hold the position. He took over that role from his close friend, Percy Sonn, who passed away in Cape Town on May 27.

At the time of his election to the presidency of what became Cricket South Africa (CSA), Mali was quoted as saying: "I am very conscious of the fact that I come from a cricket culture that stretches back more than 100 years, but that was marginalised by apartheid for nearly five decades.

"You will excuse me if my cricketing ancestors share this moment with us all because I would not be here had they not given me a heritage as rich in cricket as you will find anywhere in the world."

He is married to Peggy and they have seven children. His mother tongue is Xhosa although he also speaks English and Afrikaans.