Ewie Cronje, the father of former South African captain Hansie Cronje, died of stomach cancer at the age of 80.
Nicolaas Everhardus ‘Oom Ewie’ Cronje is former player, coach, administrator, commentator, and a mentor of cricket. One of his most memorable roles is that he is a great father to one of South Africa’s former captain Hansie Cronje who died in a plane crash way back 2002.
Ewie is one of the people who helped Free State cricket attain its status today. He represented the Free State for more than a decade and led the province so that they can compete with the other best teams.
Cronje also played 27 first-class matches for Free State. Despite scoring only one century and claiming a one five-wicket haul, he became the captain of Free State because he had shown how he was a dedicated servant, leader, and player of cricket.
He also coached the Free State University, led the Free State Cricket Union, and became a regular commentator on African teams. In 2012, he was granted Khaya Majola Lifetime Achievement Award which was Cricket South Africa’s highest honour. Everybody knew and loved him in the country and was called Oom Ewie for ‘oom’ meant uncle in Africa.
Upon his death, messages of admiration poured well for Hansie’s father. Free State Cricket Union Zola Thamae said, ‘We have learned with shock of the passing of our cricket stalwart, Oom Ewie, who has given a lifetime of service to cricket. Oom will be sadly missed by the cricket fraternity. He was a person of integrity who wanted to give fair opportunities to everyone involved in cricket regardless of their background’.
Cricket South Africa’s acting chief executive Dr Jacques Faul also said, ‘We have not just lost one of the game’s great administrators and a player of note, but a wonderful human being. He was a great man and servant of the game’.
Surrounded by his family, Oom Ewie died on his deathbed with the belief that his son Hansie is still the best captain South Africa ever had. To know more about how to play cricket which both Ewie and Hansie Cronje loved, visit Betwala.
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