Change in South Africa's coaching staff

Ray Jennings steps into Eric Simons's shoes

Cricinfo staff

October 15, 2004

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Eric Simons: heavily criticised by unnamed players © Getty Images
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Eric Simons stepped down this morning as South Africa's coach after a week of speculation regarding his future. Tim Southey, the team manager, also quit. Their contracts were terminated with immediate effect.

Within hours Ray Jennings was confirmed as Simons' replacement. Jennings, who has been coaching the A team, was given the job until the end of the tour of the Caribbean in May.

Simons' decision to walk away after two years in charge follows increasing criticism over the team's poor recent form, which prompted a review of the national squad and its management structures by the chief executive of the South African board, Gerald Majola.

Last week, unnamed players launched a stinging attack on his coaching style. They claimed that the side was dogged by bungled management, racial divides, and a Western Province clique intent on embedding themselves into powerful positions to the detriment of the future.

"Obviously I am immensely disappointed that we were not able to achieve better results," Simons said. "These have been very tough times for the national team and I acknowledge that we performed below expectation on the tours of New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

"I accept that in times like this tough decisions have to be made. Despite the run of poor results I believe in the systems and processes we implemented over the last 18 months, and it was frustrating that they did not produce the desired results sooner."

To add to the upheaval of South African cricket, Gary Kirsten has stepped down as a selector.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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