Zimbabwe cricket

Zimbabwe's coaching cupboard is almost bare

Steven Price in Harare

December 19, 2008

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Zimbabwe Cricket's executive will meet early next week to consider applications for the post of national coach and, according to the Zimbabwe Independent, there are four names who stand out from what is believed to be a small number of those who have expressed interest. The newspaper says that the four are Colin Siller, Kevin Curran, Stephen Mangongo, and incumbent Walter Chawaguta.

Chawaguta, who was given a short-term contract when Robin Brown was unceremoniously ditched in August, is believed to be the favourite despite vocal criticism of his handling of the side in the series whitewash by Sri Lanka.

Curran is a known quantity but he was far from successful when he previously had the job, often preferring to ensure the side were not disgraced rather than trying to score victories. His popularity with the players was also questionable. However, of the four he has the best coaching and playing credentials.

Siller, 38, who is Scottish, currently coaches Fiji and has had spells helping out with Canada, and has previously been headhunted by ZC in connection with coaching posts. However, his experience at senior level is very limited and he has not played first-class cricket either.

The same can be said for Mangongo, whose main claim appears to be based on his association with the notoriously-political Takashinga club (of which Chawaguta is also connected). He has held coaching and selection posts but has little experience and is also far from popular because of his fiery temperament.

If these are the only realistic candidates for a job to coach a country that remains an ICC Full Member, then it does show how far Zimbabwe have sunk. Up and coming coaches, who might be expected to use the role as a launching pad to greater things, appear to have been put off by the state of the country and the quality of the national side.

There is also no embarrassment of riches for the A-team post, with only two applications believed to be under consideration. One is Douglas Hondo, who has recently been fast-tracked into a post of bowling coach, and the other is women's coach Emmanuel Dube.

Steven Price is a freelance journalist based in Harare

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