World Cup 2007 February 15, 2007

Mangongo confident in Zimbabwe

James Jones

Despite defeat to Bangladesh, Steven Mangongo believes Zimbabwe can impress at the World Cup © AFP
Despite the recent series loss against Bangladesh, Zimbabwe's assistant coach Steven Mangongo believes his side are able to bounce back and progress to the Super Eights of the World Cup.

Mangongo who continues to work with a number of the players in the World Cup squad at club level, is confident that the side will go beyond the opening round of the tournament. "In 2003 Zimbabwe defied the odds and reached the Super Six stage ahead of England, Pakistan and hosts South Africa who were all considered favorites last time around.

"We are looking forward to the challenges the World Cup poses and I am very confident that we will go through to the Super Eight," he said. "We have an array of young and exciting players who are really looking forward to the tournament and we are confident we will do well.

"One day cricket depends on the side doing well on that particular day and a good case in point is the recent series in Australia, no one gave England a chance and look what happened there."

"We will be up to speed of the game, we are very happy with the team and we are going to the tournament as underdogs and what that means is there's no pressure on our side. We have nothing to lose."

The main surprise in the 15-man squad is Friday Kasteni, an 18-year-old batsman, but the chairman of the national selection panel, Kenyon Ziehl, said: "Kasteni is a wonderful talent and he is very willing to learn, he asks a lot of questions where he does not understand and is an excellent prospect for the future.

"He shows positive determination and if he gets a chance to play then the exuberance in him will be for all to see once he rubs shoulders with the best in world cricket."

Meanwhile, Ziehl also confirmed that they had been in negotiations with other players who left the ZC and are now based in other countries, but the players expressed an unwillingness to play. That list included former captain Tatenda Taibu who is in Namibia, whilst strike bowler Tinashe Panyangara was also one of the targeted former players.

"We tried to talk to players who are playing in foreign leagues but it was too late, talking is a two-way system but they were not willing to play but we did approach them," said Ziehl.