CSA turns down Jennings application
Ray Jennings, the coach who took South Africa's Under-19 squad to victory in the World Cup in the UAE last month, will be out of a job from next week. Jennings applied for a position within CSA's development structures but was overlooked in favour of Lawrence Mahatlane, the former assistant coach of the Lions franchise. Shukri Conrad, who was in charge of both the Cobras and Lions, has been appointed national academy head coach.
"I am bitterly disappointed," Jennings told ESPNcricinfo. "But if the system doesn't want you, then it doesn't want you. It's upsetting that it was left so late to let me know." Interviews were conducted over the last three weeks but Jennings was only informed of the decision today.
With just a week left until he will be out of contract Jennings admitted he is concerned about his future. "I'll have to sit down and think properly about it," he said while also mooting the possibility that he need to look beyond South Africa's borders for employment. "But all these things take time."
Jennings had a hint that his services would no longer be required when he returned triuphant from the U-19 World Cup in March. Then, it was announced the role of U-19 coach would cease to exist its current form when Jennings' contract expired at the end of April and would be split into two positions.
CSA have since announced the position of U-19 head coach still exists, which was the job Jennings applied for. Mahatlane has been assigned to the role. Mahatlane obtained a Level Four coaching certificate in 2008 and was at the helm when the Gauteng Strikers, the provincial side who play at the tier below franchise level, won the three-day competition in the 2006-07 season and the one-day competition in 2007-08. He stopped coaching in 2011 but has worked as a cricket and rugby radio commentator for the public broadcaster, the SABC.
The second post focuses on the national academy which will also involve running the academy from May to September standardising all the provincial academies. Conrad has been given this job. Conrad won the one-day competition with the Gauteng team in the 2003-04 season before the franchise system was introduced. He was then in charge of the Cobras for five years in which time he won the all three trophies on offer in separate seasons: the one-day cup (2006-07), the 20-over tournament (2008-09) and the first-class competition (2009-10). In 2011 he worked with the Ugandan national side and has since appeared on television commentary.
The pair will look to fill the continuity gap left by Jennings, who has been in charge of South Africa's U-19 side since 2006. Jennings has taken the side to five World Cups and he remembered that in that time, the various teams he has led have only lost four matches. He has also coached at provincial level, having been in charge of domestic teams Easterns and Gauteng and at international level with the South African A side and South Africa's national side between 2004 and 2006.
This is the second job Jennings has lost this year. In January, he was axed from the Royal Challengers Bangalore when they unveiled Daniel Vettori was their new head coach.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent