Mangongo sacked as Zimbabwe coach
Stephen Mangongo has been fired as Zimbabwe's coach just eight weeks before the World Cup. Mangongo's dismissal comes after the team lost all eight fixtures on their recent Bangladesh tour, which included three Tests and five ODIs.
No replacement has been announced but Zimbabwe Cricket will hold interviews next week and unveil a new coach after Christmas. ZC chairman Wilson Manase said that two people were under consideration. "They are experienced people and will do us proud."
The board announced Mangongo's departure on Thursday afternoon after a meeting. "The ZC board has decided to relieve Stephen Mangongo of his duties as head coach with immediate effect... After our Bangladesh tour we decided to conduct an investigation into what happened and also to look at our structures because we needed to move forward and wanted to ensure that the stakeholders and ourselves are satisfied that what we are doing is enhancing the performance on the field," Manase said. "Today we held a board meeting to consider the reports coming from the cricket committee and what we have come up with is that we need a bit of restructuring of our technical team."
Mangongo will be redeployed to work with the national Under-19 side because the administration believes he is "good at identifying talent," according to Manase. "Stephen has been pivotal in developing the game of cricket. He delivered. Against Bangladesh we won the series last year and against Australia we won a match which was good. But what we seek is consistency. Because we are going to the World Cup, we need to be very astute in what we are doing."
Mangongo had formally been in the position for five months and had also stepped in as interim coach earlier. While Mangongo's tenure included the notable success of Zimbabwe's first one-day international win over Australia in 31 years, he had faced criticism over his brusque coaching style and handling of players. Mangongo had replaced Andy Waller, who was moved out in July. Waller was given an overseeing role in ZC, looking after cricket at all levels from age-group to the academy, and may come back into contention.
Givemore Makoni, Zimbabwe's convenor of selectors and a man widely thought to be a key ally of Mangongo, retained his post, while it was also announced that the selection panel would be widened to include the national coach, bowling coach Douglas Hondo, former team manager and long-serving administrator Babu Meman and the national captain. The revamped structure will be reviewed after the World Cup, Manase said.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent; Liam Brickhill is a freelance journalist based in Cape Town