Meet the Team

Together with the Board of Trustees and our office staff, the Players’ Fund has developed a reputation built on integrity and honour. Trust in the Players’ Fund’s exceptional governance has been established through years of dedication and these values are what guide the day to day actions of all involved.

Our Trustees 

Jean de Villiers

Jean de Villiers


Jean played 109 tests for South Africa and holds the record of 94 of those in the same position as centre and was named the 54th Springbok captain to lead the team. He is also the 4th Springbok captain to join Morné  du Plessis, Tiaan Strauss and John Smit as a trustee of the board of the Players’ Fund. He was nominated as Chairman of the Board of Trustees in 2018.

Aside from Jean’s history in the green and gold, he is also a Laureus Sport for Good ambassador and currently holds the position of head of Philanthropy for a firm of investment managers based in Cape Town. His long history with rugby in SA and his regular appearances on SuperSport as sports presenter together with his professional knowledge of philanthropy brings a wealth of knowledge for the Players’ Fund’s staff to tap into.

Jean is married to Marlie and they live in Paarl with their three children, Layli, Lana and Luca.

Hanyani Shimange

Vice Chairman

AKA, Shimmy is a former professional rugby player who represented the Sharks, moved to the Free State and eventually ended up playing for Western Province and the Springboks.

Whilst in Cape Town, Hanyani also completed a management course at the UCT Graduate School of Business, and spent several years working at the Bester Burke Slingers Advertising Agency whilst playing rugby.

Hanyani is a media broadcaster for Supersport and a coach at the Western Province Rugby Union. He has been involved with the Players’ Fund since 2015 and in 2018 was inducted as Vice Chairman of the Players’ Fund, taking over from Frikkie Naude.

Hanyani Shimange
Morné du Plessis

Morné du Plessis

Founder of the Players’ Fund

Morné was born in Vereeniging in 1949 and has become a legend of South African Rugby. He was first selected as a Springbok in 1971.

He then followed the footsteps of his father when he was appointed Springbok captain in 1975. Under Morné’s leadership the Springboks won 13 of the 15 international games they played and in later years managed the Springbok side that won the 1995 Rugby World Cup in Johannesburg.

It was when he was playing for the Western Province team that he got to know the late Chris Burger and was the captain of the side when Burger sustained a fatal injury in 1980. This tragic accident mobilised Morné and the rest of the team to establish the Chris Burger Fund which has become known as “Rugby’s Caring Hands” since then.

Morné stood at the helm of the Fund from inception until 2018 when he handed over the reins to Jean de Villiers.

Frikkie Naudé

Frikkie played rugby for Shimlas & the Free State between  1973-1975, Maties Rugby between 1976 –1977, for Villagers and WP Rugby between 1978 -1980.

Currently he is the Chairman of Intertechnic, an Import & Export Company and has held this role since 1977.

He also is a wine and olive farmer at Yonder Hill Wines in Stellenbosch and Olyfberg olives and oil which is situated in Robertson.

As a retired President of the Maties Rugby Club, it is evident that rugby means a lot to Frikkie, who has served on the Players’ Fund’s Board of Trustees since it’s inception in 1980. Frikkie stepped down as Vice Chairman in 2018, making way for Hanyani Shimange.

Frikkie is married to Danila (neé Maartens) with two children Nicola and Daniel.

Frikkie Naude
Joel Krige

Joel Krige

Joel was born in Worcester and attended Worcester Boys’ High, now called Worcester Gymnasium, played cricket for Boland Schools, studied law at the University of Cape Town (BA. LLB), played under 20 rugby, and served on the SRC in 1977.

Joel is a member of the Cape Bar, practices from Huguenot Chambers in the field of human rights. He has 24 reported decisions on administrative and constitutional law, racially discriminatory practices, land claims, unfair labour practices, and also appears in the  Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court. He addressed the Constituent Assembly that drafted the new Constitution, Act 108 of 1996.

Joel joined the Players’ Fund as an honourary legal adviser and trustee in 2011. He is a published poet with two anthologies of poetry, and has written on the history of cricket at the Cape Bar.

Wayne Fyvie

Wayne Fyvie is a former Springbok and Sharks Rugby player. Since leaving the world of rugby in 2001, he has taken the same drive and determination into the business world, channeling his energy into a business venture called greenOFFICE.

His involvement in the Players’ Fund began when he was appointed as the Fund representative in the KZN region in 2005.

He was later invited onto the board of trustees where he has been an active member since 2009.

Wayne Fyvie
John Smit

John Smit

John was one of Rugby’s most successful players of all time. He was the captain of the South African Rugby team (with an astonishing 111 caps), leading the Springboks to World Cup glory in 2007 and was inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame in 2011.

John has been a positive driving force behind the Players’ Fund since joining the board of Trustees in 2013.

Clint Readhead

Clint was born in Johannesburg, matriculated from Jeppe High School for boys in 1988 and then ventured down to Cape Town with the plan to get a degree and then move back to Johannesburg. This has never happened, the Cape became home.

Clint qualified as a Physiotherapist in 1993 at the University of Cape Town, then went on to work for two years in the Spinal Unit at Conradie Hospital. It was here that he developed an understanding of the life changing journey a neurologically injured person has to endure following injury, through rehabilitation and finally trying to integrate back into society.

While at Conradie he was fortunate to watch the opening of the 1995 Rugby World Cup tournament match between the Springboks and Australia as a guest in the CBPJPF suite at Newlands.

Clint has been actively involved in rugby for over 20 years, having worked at all levels of the game. After being named the physiotherapist for the Springboks in 2003 he went on to be a member of the Rugby World Cup Winning Springbok Squad of 2007, which he looks on as a career highlight. In 2008 he moved across to rugby administration and is the current Medical Manager at the South African Rugby Union.

Together with his wife Pippa, he has two wonderful children; Mathew and Emily.

Clint Readhead
Anton Engelbrecht

Anton Engelbrecht

On the 19th of August 1988, Anton was injured while playing rugby at LC De Villiers Rugby Stadium. He was in his 4th year of his MBChB degree at the University of Pretoria. He suffered a C5/6 vertebra dislocation and was diagnosed as an incomplete quadriplegic, since then he has relied on a wheelchair for mobility.

Following his accident, he continued and completed a BMedSci degree, as well as a BSc (Hons) in Bio Systems in 1992. After working at Pretoria Academic Hospital, he joined Professional Provident Society (PPS) in 1993 and Alexander Forbes in 1995. Anton went on to complete an MBA in 2004. Currently he is responsible for business development and strategic consulting at Alexander Forbes Health. Providing expert advice into disability equity, accessibility and employment of people with disabilities in the corporate industry.

Anton’s hobbies are wine tasting, reading and visiting new places with his wife Stacey and watching his twin boys grow up and explore the world. His most recent achievement was finishing the New York ING Marathon 42km in 6 hours and 15 minutes with a hand cycle.

The Fund has been lucky to have Anton on the Board of Trustees since 2013, he also sits on the Assistance Committee where he provides valuable insight into living with the disability in South Africa.
He is married to Stacey and they have twin boys Eden and Aaron.

Tiaan Strauss

Tiaan grew up on a farm in the Kalahari and matriculated in 1983 in Upington. He then went to Stellenbosch University where he studied law and acquired a B.COMM. LLB degree.

He worked as a Lawyer in Cape Town until the end of 1995, when he and his family moved to Australia.

In 1998 he joined The Australian Investment Group, a wholesale mortgage provider, as General Manager, where he worked until the end of 2005.

In 2006 Tiaan returned to South Africa and started working with Megapro Marketing in March 2009 as General Manager of Rugby. Part of his role is running Premier Interschools as Managing Director.

Tiaan’s rugby career started at Stellenbosch under the watchful eye of Danie Craven. He was selected for WP in 1986 at the age of 20 and played arecord 158 times for them, which included 93 as captain.

He was selected for the Springboks in 1992 and played 15 Tests for South Africa.

He moved to Australia to play Rugby League for 2 years for the Cronulla Sharks in Sydney. He then returned to Rugby Union in 1998 and played for the Waratahs for 3 years. Tiaan was selected for Australia in 1999, who he represented in 13 Tests and was part of the World Cup winning team in Wales.

Tiaan retired from rugby at the end of 2000 and joined the Players’ Fund board in 2014.

Tiaan Strauss
FC Smit

FC Smit

In 1991, there was a welcome addition to the running affairs of the Fund, Well known WP forward FC Smit indicated that he was interested in the activities of the Fund. Morné du Plessis felt that the 25 year old, 2,02 meter and 112 kg flank could be a considerable benefit to the Fund, more especially as a link between current rugby players and the Fund. Other members wholeheartedly agreed and their confidence was not misplaced.

FC matriculated from Jan van Riebeeck High School in Cape Town and after completing 2 years national service went to Stellenbosch University where he studied psychology. He played for WP as a flank forward from 1991 to 1994 before moving to lock position in the scrum. He was chosen for SA in 1992 but played only one test as a Springbok. In 1997, an injury ended his career as a player. FC is still one of the dedicated Fund Trustees.

Khaya Mayedwa

Khaya joined SARU in 2008 as a Commercial Manager and has extensive commercial and marketing experience. He is well respected in the SARU family of sponsors and media. He is an enthusiastic business man with an academic background (Bachelor of Commerce – BComm, BComm Honours and Masters in Business Leadership).

Currently heading the Government and Stakeholder Relations Division of SARU, he has been appointed as the SARU representative on the Players’ Fund board of trustees, a position that he has held since 2016.

Khaya Mayedwa
Dr Phatho Zondi

Phatho Zondi

Dr Zondi is a Sports and Exercise Medicine (SEM) Physician experienced in clinical sports medicine, general management, and leadership. Her life mission is to use sport/physical activity as a tool for socioeconomic development and as a platform for transformation. She is the CEO of the Sports Science Institute of South Africa and also serves as the Chair of the Medical Advisory Commission for the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and on the Board of Directors of the South African Institute for Drug Free Sports (SAIDS). She is also a past President for the South African Sports Medicine Association (NGO).

Phatho has recently been appointed Chief Medical Officer for Team South Africa at the Tokyo2020 Olympic Games, with past clinical highlights including similar appointments at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games and the 2014 Commonwealth Games, and the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Dr Zondi is involved with the World Rugby and the SA Rugby Union as a sports medicine consultant, tournament doctor and educator. In August 2017, Dr Zondi was conferred a Ministerial Recognition Award in acknowledgment of her contribution to sport in South Africa. She is passionate about developing and mentoring young women and future leaders of South Africa.

Phatho joined the Players’ Fund in 2018 and also holds a seat on the Assistance Committee where her medical background is hugely valuable.

Neil Strybis

Neil started his career at Shotland Sevenus Giles and Hobson, one of the firms which later became known as PKF (Cape Town) Inc. After completing his national service, in 1988 he qualified as a chartered accounting and in 1989 was appointed as a director.

During his career, Neil gained extensive experience and expertise in auditing, accounting, taxation and business consulting which allowed him to build outstanding relationships with key role players in the printing, retail, manufacturing and advertising industries.

He strongly believes in the values of maintaining strong relationships through sound communication and the delivery of quality professional services.

Neil Strybis

Our Staff

Mark Kritzinger - CEO The Players' Fund

Mark Kritzinger


Having worked in corporate roles for most of my career, I am very fortunate to have been able to join the Players’ Fund in July 2022. I have been involved in the Fund in some way for the better part of 20 years, and it is a cause that is very close to my heart.

As a former rugby player, I understand the power of sports to bring people together and build strong communities. I believe that everyone deserves the chance to participate in sports and lead active, healthy lives, regardless of their abilities.

I am passionate about making a difference in the lives of people we serve, and I am  committed to ensuring that our organisation continues to provide vital support and resources to those who need it most, and to creating a more inclusive and accessible society for all.

Gail Baerecke

Injured Player Welfare Officer 

I grew up in Durban, KZN and moved to Cape Town in the early 80’s where I furthered my nursing career in both the public and private sectors. I joined the Players’ Fund team in 2005 and immediately became part of the Players’ Fund family. I have found it an immense privilege and a time of enormous personal growth working and managing the Players’ Fund over the years.

I continue to be inspired by the heroes of rugby who manage to pick up the broken pieces and continue with their lives often under difficult and challenging circumstances. Witnessing how many of the Fund’s boys focus on their abilities rather than their disabilities has strengthened my “can do” attitude.

I enjoy working with a team of dynamic and amazing trustees, all who give of their time and expertise willingly and for no financial gain, all to ensure that the Fund’s recipients are taken care of.

Gail Baerecke - Injured Player Welfare Officer
Aashia Hendricks - General & Financial Administrator

Aashia Hendricks

General & Financial Administrator

I joined the Fund as the new kid on the block in January 2020. This is a first for me in the NPO/PBO sector. My time thus far has been nothing short of a bottomless rewarding and learning experience. Having delved more into the world of rugby as a sport and more significantly rugby player injuries have proven to me, how one can do more with less and succeed at it.

Working closely with catastrophically injured rugby players and understanding their day to day will to live, has opened up for me a new world of strength, purpose and absolute determination to carry on in any circumstance.

The Chris Burger Petro Jackson Players’ Fund selflessly nurtures, provides hope and reinvigorates their recipients’ lives from day one, and this to me is humanity – doing for someone that they could never do for you.

It is an absolute honour to be a part of this dynamic team.

Get in touch with Rugby’s Caring Hands