Little interest in Zimbabwe coaching post
Cricinfo has learned that Zimbabwe Cricket is considering readvertising the post of national coach after it received only four fairly low-profile applications. One source close to the board even said that it is considering approaching the ICC for its help, although that was not confirmed.
The four applicants are understood to have been reduced to two, incumbent Walter Chawaguta and Stephen Mangongo, with former coach Kevin Curran and Colin Siller removed from the equation. Website zimbabwecricket.com referred to the four applicants as being "not much of a choice, really …. two men of the "wrong" colour with at least some of the right experience, and two men of the "right" colour with very little experience between them".
A Zimbabwe Cricket spokesman said that Chawaguta "was appointed in an interim capacity and so will continue in that role until a substantive appointment, the process leading to which is currently under way with applications having closed and the relevant committee going through those received, is made."
So in the short-term, Chawaguta retains his post for the tour to Bangladesh and then Kenya in January, and a permanent appointment will be made when the squad returns. It is believed that he will have to cut a far more impressive figure on the trip than he did during the home series against Sri Lanka last month to convince the board to stick with him.
If he does not, then Mangongo is expected to take on the job, despite having no first-class experience and few credentials as a coach. What he does have is strong links to the influential Takashinga club and, despite some public fallings-out in recent years, the support of key individuals at the top of ZC. Whether that extends to making him qualified to coach an international side is another matter.
What this shows is how far Zimbabwe have sunk, as only a few years ago the post would have been seen as an ideal one for any up-and-coming coach. In fairness to ZC, the state of the country is probably more responsible for putting off prospective candidates than anything else.
An inexperienced side desperately needs top-class coaching to help them find their feet on the international stage. What is doesn't want is a coach every bit as raw as the youngsters on the field.
If the ICC is sincere about wanting to help Zimbabwe, this is one area where its influence really could make a difference.
Steven Price is a freelance journalist based in Harare