A VIEW OF VILAS: A look at Anne Vilas and her outstanding first season as Central Gauteng Lions President.

Johannesburg – The Central Gauteng Lions announced their annual results on Wednesday 11 August. In unquestionably the most challenging year of our lives, Anne Vilas stuck to her crease, blocking, leaving and smashing, left, right and center. The results showed learnings, opportunities and growth for the game on-field and off, and CGL are all the better for it.

Anne was appointed as the first female CGL President in May 2020, off the back of a three year stint as Vice President to Jack Madiseng. In her Presidential role her high-level objectives centre on transformation: To help transform cricket at all levels, whether it be women and girls cricket by ensuring they receive equal opportunities, or ensuring a fair playing field for previously disadvantaged and marginalised communities, who have often overcome more than we can imagine. Growing the game in underprivileged areas is another key focus area, recognising the ability of sports to transform lives. Lastly, understanding how all these are key to ensuring a sustainable pipeline of talent for CGL.

We managed to grab some time with our Leader – here’s her thoughts regarding the 2020/21 season:

Q. What’s been the biggest win for CGL from this last season?

It’s certainly been a team effort, with the CGL Board and staff, working tirelessly amidst a year of global turmoil. Keeping CGL financially sound, and keeping the game being played at club level was a big win, which was again the sum of many peoples parts. We understood what was required of us, as well as how quickly things can change: So I think that both as individuals and as a Pride, we witnessed first hand how one’s world can turn upside down and how we need to appreciate every single day, what we have and what we can do with it as a collective. Gratitude.

Q. What do you foresee as the greatest challenges for this next financial year and what plans do you have in place to overcome such challenges?

In my opinion, the challenges will largely remain the same. The pandemic is not going to disappear any time soon – we  will need to cope with it and the associated pressures it burdens on our players, staff and society at large. We will need to source innovative ways to support the emotional wellbeing of our Pride, whilst still juggling and topping the scoreboard both on and off the field.

Q. What is the one thing that you want to focus on most this coming year?

We as the board need to keep our focus on the financial stability of the organisation and very importantly to be able to look after our stakeholders during such trying times. In addition, we need to work on being able to play as much cricket as possible – because playing is imperative for growth.

We will also need to focus on our Transformation Charter and how we can grow women and girls cricket given the challenges we face with facilities – the same of which can be said regarding cricket for the underprivileged and marginalized members of our society.

Q: Words of encouragement & thanks?

We have numerous stakeholders who have backed us and keep backing us, especially Imperial Logistics: I cannot truly articulate my thanks to all of them for their continued support in such trying times.

To the CGL staff who give us all they’ve got, day, night and weekends going above and beyond despite the Covid chaos.

The Board who are generally available at short notice, working extremely hard behind the scenes for our valued brand.

A special mention to Arlene Lewis who seems to be available 24/7 – The board would be lost without her!

To our CEO  Jono Leaf-Wright and Head of Finance Brecht who never seem to leave the stadium.  Lastly to our coaches and players: What a season you’ve given us, I am forever grateful.