Goolam Rajah, the former manager of the South Africa men's cricket team, has died of Covid-19-related complications in Johannesburg. Rajah was 74. He had spent most of the last two months on ventilator in a hospital in the city, but succumbed as South Africa, and the Gauteng province in particular, deals with a massive surge in Covid-19 cases.
Rajah, a pharmacist by profession, managed the national men's side from 1992 until his retirement in 2011, and was known to be much loved by the players. He was in the dressing room for many big moments, including the memorable 1999 World Cup semi-final, where he remembered seeing the players cry after South Africa were knocked out.
Rajah had been with the team for more than 600 matches, working alongside as many as 107 players.
"It is a very sad day for the South African Cricket Family," CSA Acting Chief Executive Pholetsi Moseki said. "Goolam was a very special human being who has touched so many lives in a positive way in the 30 years we have enjoyed being a democratic cricket organization. "We all have our special memories of him which we will treasure. He was truly a man who gave a great deal to the game of cricket and to everybody involved in it. "
Former captain Graeme Smith said Rajah was like a "father figure" for most of the players.
"He took care of everything with such detail that the players were able to focus totally on the cricket and that was why his tenure was so successful," Smith said. "The players were particularly appreciative of the way he looked after their wives and partners on away tours. We will indeed be fortunate to see his like again."