College of Law and Management Studies

Breaking stereotypes around transformation in South African sports is what drives Sharks Rugby Chief Executive Officer and PhD graduate Dr Eduard Coetzee.

The professional rugby player used his research titled: A Comparative Analysis of Business Strategies for Professional Cricket and Rugby in South Africa since 1994 to identify past experiences that prevent South African sport from being fully inclusive. The study also aimed to identify enabling factors that will promote inclusivity. It was supervised by Professor Theuns Pelser.

‘Sport brings with it such an emotive feeling in this country. It has the power to unite like nothing else,’ said Coetzee.

‘I hope that my study will break down negative perceptions and create platforms for sport to grow in previously disadvantaged areas as well as create awareness of where certain sporting codes originated,’ he added.

While researching both cricket and rugby was challenging due to their different backgrounds and history, Coetzee was not deterred.

‘I didn’t do this research to enhance my career, but rather to understand the environment I work in. For example, the study showed that perceptions that rugby is a White man’s sport are incorrect. It was due to segregation imposed by apartheid that sport was taken away from people who were passionate about it. I am now better equipped to deal with everyday problems in our sector and suggest solutions,’ he said.

Words: Thandi Jumo
Photograph: Abhi Indrarajan