South Africa news November 21, 2017

Meet South Africa's revamped backroom staff

These are the men Ottis Gibson has chosen, to guide South Africa to the 2019 World Cup

Dale Benkenstein earlier served as Hampshire's head coach © Getty Images

Ottis Gibson has cleared out South Africa's backroom, keeping only spin consultant Claude Henderson from his predecessor Russell Domingo's core crop. With Gibson set to take over the bowling coach duties himself, he only needed to add three others to his support staff. These are the men he has chosen, to take South Africa to the 2019 World Cup.

Who: Malibongwe Maketa

Role: Assistant coach

Cricketing background:

Maketa won a fast-bowling competition when he was in school - the prize was presented by Ottis Gibson - and he was considered international quality. At the age of 15, he was part of the South African side that played at the Youth World Cup in England in 1996. It was there that he first discovered his lower back problems, which developed into stress fractures that ultimately cost him a career. Despite efforts of one of South Africa's leading sports scientists, Tim Noakes, to help him recover, Maketa was not able to stay fit for long. He played just one first-class game and one List A game but was a regular at the Border B side. He was not offered a contract when the franchise system came into place in the 2004-05 summer and turned to coaching shortly afterwards.

Previous professional coaching experience:

2006-2008: Trainee assistant coach, Titans
2008-2012: Head coach, Northerns
2012-2013: Assistant coach, Titans
2013-14: Assistant coach, Warriors
2015-2017: Head coach, Warriors

Achievements:

Won the provincial one-day competition with Northerns 2010-11.
Won the provincial Twenty20 tournament with Northerns in 2011-12.
Took the Warriors, South Africa's underdog franchise with no current internationals in their squad, to the 50-over and 20-over final in the 2016-17 summer.

In his own words:

On getting the job: "I had spoken to Ottis a few weeks back but I didn't take it too seriously. I thought he was just getting a feel for what he wants. I want to assist him becoming the most successful coach South Africa has ever had in terms of winning a World Cup."

On his mentor: "I worked under Richard Pybus at the Titans and he became my mentor. I really value his advice and I also see him as a great example of someone who never played international cricket but was very successful as a coach."

On working at Warriors: "I took over in challenging times and one thing I did was make sure I put across how I would like the players to play and to represent the badge with honour. What we've done well is that even when no-one gave us a chance, we pressed back. We work hard and we work smart."

Who: Dale Benkenstein

Role: Batting coach

Cricketing background:

A prolific and consistent run-scorer, Benkenstein played professionally for more than 20 years and was widely expected to be an international regular. He captained the SA Schools side in 1992 and succeeded Malcolm Marshall as Natal captain in 1997, at the age of 22. Benkenstein became part of the furniture, in Durban and in Durham, and boasted a first-class average of 44.21, with 15,962 runs to his name, including 38 centuries. Despite scoring only one List A hundred, it was in ODIs that made the step up to international level, but he was only picked for 23 one-dayers for South Africa.

Previous professional coaching experience:

2013: Batting coach, Dolphins
2014-2016: Head coach, Hampshire
2016-present: Head coach, Hilton College
Owner of Dale Benkenstein Academy

Achievements:

Took Hampshire to two NatWest T20 Blast finals

In his own words:

On returning to South Africa from the county circuit: "My wife and I wanted to school our children in South Africa and when we had a fourth child, it kind of threw our lives into turmoil. I came back to South Africa so I could help out at home as well. I had been working as a coach with Michaelhouse, which is where I went to school, but because they have a policy that they don't employ professional sport coaches, I got a job just down the road at Hilton."

On how he will juggle the South Africa job with his responsibilities at Hilton College: "The national job is an 18-month contract and there is not a lot of security in that but at the same time, it's an exciting opportunity to coach at that level. I will have to marry the two. I have security at the school, and I will coach there when I am not with the national team. CSA saw the benefit in this and we came to an agreement. The South Africa work takes priority and the schedule is such that there is quite a lot of time when we are not busy; blocks with no international cricket. I will be able to do about 50% of the work at Hilton."

On the national players he knows, and what they can achieve: "I've known Hashim Amla since he was 12 years old and I played against AB [de Villiers] towards the end of my career. I got to know Faf [du Plessis] at Lancashire. I've been around cricket all my life so I have gotten to know guys. I think with the crop of players, there is a real chance of them winning the World Cup."

Who: Justin Ontong

Role: Fielding coach

Cricketing background:

A two-Test international, Ontong became known, unfairly, for an application of South Africa's quota system which weighed heavily on his reputation throughout his career. Despite sparse international showings - two Tests, 28 ODIs and 14 T20s - Ontong is a franchise veteran, having won titles with the Lions and the Cobras over a two-decade-long career. In 194 first-class matches, he racked up 11,933 runs at an average of 41.87 which included 26 centuries, the last of which came a month before he was announced as the new national fielding coach. He played 252 List A games and 134 T20s and was known for his athletic fielding, even when he became one of the older members of the side. He has retired with immediate effect to take up this new role.

Previous Professional Coaching Experience:

None. Ontong holds a Level 2 coaching certificate and will be working towards his Level 3 in the coming months.

In his own words:

On retiring earlier than expected: "I had another year or two of cricket left in me but coaching is a fantastic opportunity that only comes once in a lifetime I would have been stupid not to take it. I was always looking to move into coaching. I had hoped to get back into the national team and now I am coming back as a coach."

On what he will look to do as South Africa's first fielding coach in more than four years: "If you look at our players they have incredible skill-sets and so it will be about challenging them to up their standards, especially in T20 cricket. I want to make South Africa the best fielding team in the world."

On other areas he hopes to become involved in: "At a net session, everyone gets stuck in. It will be a collective effort and I will be throwing balls and doing my bit too."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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