Former Springbok touring squad member,Thando Manana, has been elected chairperson of the South African Rugby Employers’ Organisation (Sareo).
Manana, who is the current general manager at the Eastern Province Rugby Union, succeeds Rudolf Straeuli, CEO of the Lions, who has stepped down after several years in the role.
Sareo is the representative council of the professional and amateur rugby employers in South Africa, managing relationships with the players’ union (MyPlayers – Sarpa) and the non-playing employees (Sports Employees Unite – SEU) representing employers’ interests to SA Rugby.
Manana, 44, steps up from the role of vice-chairperson, which will now be filled by Bulls CEO Edgar Rathbone.
The remainder of the executive comprises Veda Manie (SWD), Eduard Coetzee (Sharks), Pieter Burger (Ellis Park (Pty) Ltd), Eugene Fourie (Leopards), and SA Rugby representative, Ian Schwartz.
Straeuli said in a statement he was happy to see Manana take up the role.
“Sareo performs a central role in the rugby industry, and I am very pleased to see Thando take the step up. He has seen the sport from every angle as a player, coach, journalist, and broadcaster and now as an administrator and brings broad and diverse experience to the role,” the Lions boss said.
During his playing days, Manana toured with the Springboks in 2000 and played provincial rugby as a flanker for EP, Griquas, the Bulls, Griffons, and Blackrock College in Ireland. He also coached at the club level (Spring Rose and Motherwell) and worked as a broadcaster for 15 years before becoming EP’s general manager in 2019.
“I’d like to thank the membership for placing their trust in me at this very difficult time for our business. Our members fulfill multiple roles in their communities, but our lifeblood is getting fans through the gate, and we all know what a challenge that has been for almost two years,” Manana said.