By CHESLEY DANIELS
Makhandan Leon Coetzee was on Saturday elected as the new president of Eastern Province Cricket Board (EPCB) at its AGM. EPCB-affiliated clubs voted for him to replace Dai Tai Marais, the acting president.
Before his election, he served as the vice-president of the EPCB and was in his fifteenth year as president of the Grahamstown Cricket Board (GCB). He is also the current president of Rural Cricket South Africa (RCSA) and Sarah Baartman Cricket Association president.
His elevation to the position of Head of Cricket Administration in the Eastern Cape is well deserved and a natural progression for someone who has been involved at all levels of the sport. He is well-placed to bring much-needed leadership to the development and transformation of sport in rural areas such as Makana and the rest of the Eastern Cape.
Leon Lance Latimore Coetzee was born in Grahamstown and attended Mary Waters High School, where he also matriculated. He then completed his tertiary education at Dower Training College (PE), the University of South Africa (UNISA) and Rhodes University. He taught at Mary Waters High School and then at Grahamstown Primary School in 1992. He became the Principal in 2001 and retired last year in 2021.
Coming from a family known for their love of sport, he was an accomplished sportsman and started playing competitive cricket for Morning Stars Cricket Club in the GCB 2nd League from (1978-1979).
The talented cricketer then went to Dower College and started playing for United Cricket Club from (1980-1984), and during this period was selected for the EPCB Team that played under the South African Cricket Board (SACB). From 186-1992, he played club cricket for Old Boys CC in the Border Cricket Board League and played for the Border Cricket Board XI Side from 1989-1993. During this period, he also played for Willows Cricket Club, where he was one of the founding members.
Leon was also selected for the Eastern Cape XI that played against Sri Lanka National Side in 1995.
During his time at Willows, Coetzee continued his illustrious cricket career as the club’s captain in the GCB 1st League and was selected to represent the EP Country Districts side from 1995-1999. Whilst playing for Willows, he later became the club’s president and led the club to further success and heights during his tenure.
• Became the president of Willows Cricket Club for many years;
• Chairperson of the Grahamstown Schools Development Committee;
• Became president of GCB from 1997 till present;
• Selected as a board member of Rural Cricket South Africa (RCSA) in 2010;
• President of Sarah Baartman Cricket Association 2014-2022;
• Served on Schools Cricket South Africa Executive from 2011-2022 and served as Rural U/17 tournament director;
• Became EPCB Board Member in 2016 till present;
• Became Rural Cricket South Africa (RCSA) president in 2012 till present;
• Also Manager of RCSA Team on two occasions;
• Became president of EPCB in 2022.
Coetzee is passionate about school cricket and has continuously coached the Grahamstown Primary School (GPS) cricket teams for 20 years.