Eyaaz Matwadia | Image: cricketcountry.com | 22 November 2018
Dr Mohammed Moosajee grew up in Lenasia in a very challenging time where opportunities did not come easily to people of colour. He played football and cricket growing up and even made it into the Transvaal cricket team at the time. He then went on to study a pharmacy degree at Wits University. Once he had completed studying pharmacy, he went back to study a degree in medicine. Dr Moosajee then decided to study sports medicine as he felt sports had consumed much of his life. He is now the team manager of the South African Cricket team and a team doctor in the Kaizer Chiefs setup.
Recently Salaamedia’s very own Irfaan Adam had the chance to sit down with Dr Moosajee in a striking interview which covered several aspects about his career, the challenges which he faced as a person of colourand how he has dealt with both his roles as the Proteas team manager and Kaizer Chiefs team doctor simultaneously.
Dr Moosajee became the team doctor of the South African cricket team in 2003 and said that it was a very challenging time for South African cricket at the time. His first tour was in 20013 to Bangladesh and coincidentally, it was also the first tour of Graeme Smith’s captaincy after succeeding Shaun Pollock as captain.
However, Dr Moosajee said that this was not the most challenging aspect at the time. He says that South Africa was in a transitional period and it was “hard for the previously advantaged to accept that people of colour were coming into the team.” He says that since he has become team manager in 2008, there has been a lot of attention drawn to the importance of diversity and a genuine effort has been made for players and coaches to understand each other’s backgrounds and cultures. He emphasized that this helps give the team a competitive edge, but more importantly, it allows the team to know that they are playing for a nation of 55 million people.
After the Cricket World Cup in 2007, he felt that it was time to spend more time at his practice and with his family. This was the moment when Kaizer Chiefs approached him to be a consultant sports physician. He took that opportunity as it was convenient and gave him more time with his family.
In 2008, the Proteas approached him to become a team manager and although being stunned at first, due to his time served as a chairman on the Gauteng Cricket Board, he understood Board politics. He therefore decided to commit to being the team manager of the Proteas for three years, however, he is still there and doing a brilliant job 10 years later.
Whether it be reaching the peak of world cricket in all formats in 2012, or a controversy that he had to oversee, or a banter filled Aussie tour, Dr Moosajee has certainly seen it all in South African cricket. He has also seen it all in local football with his role in the Kaizer Chiefs setup and makes a great role model for any young aspiring sportsman or sportswoman. He has advised the young sportsman and sportswoman to grab opportunities and not look to take shortcuts, as these opportunities were not available to the older generation. He has also encouraged the youth to become more involved in sports administration as they are the future of South Africa.