Mumbai: South Africa's former team manager Goolam Rajah was a very friendly man, according to Steve Bernard, the former Australian manager for 13 years.
The 74-year-old Goolam Rajah passed away due to the Covid-19 related complications in SA and had served the team for 19 years.
Paying tribute to Rajah, whom Bernard knew well, said, "I had the pleasure of working in a number of Australia versus South Africa series and tournaments, and Goolam was my counterpart in all these meetings. From the first time we met each other during the World Cup in England in 1999, he was friendly and welcoming towards me. We developed a good relationship over the years we worked with each other, and I found him to be an engaging friendly man, who was passionate about South African cricket. He was also a very empathetic man, who always had the best interests of his players at heart. He was always mindful of their well-being, and worked hard to create an environment within the group which allowed them to play without distractions and impediments. From my observations, he was very well liked and more importantly, respected by all his players and staff".
"We would have regular catch ups when we were able, and he showed himself to be an intelligent and compassionate man. He spoke fondly of his family, and they were obviously the most important beings in his life. He served as the Manager of the SA team for 19 years, which is a monumental effort. From my knowledge, only Phil Neale from England spent longer in that role than Goolum. Goolum was a great cricket person, and the cricket fraternity from all countries will mourn his passing".
"With the passing of Roy Torrens, the former Ireland Team Manager earlier this year, also from Covid 19, cricket has lost two wonderful cricketing personalities in a short period of time. This insidious disease has caused pain and heartbreak the world over, but when two such people as Goolam and Roy succumb to it, it makes it very close to home and a sad moment for all cricket people", Bernard signed off.