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Jobs for the illustrious neighbours, yes, but Zim must reap benefits

Last week, Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) named South African Justin Sammons as the country’s new head coach,



HawkZone Enock Muchinjo

WHAT a coincidence that two of Zimbabwe’s major sporting codes have finally decided to turn to the “Big Brother” next door, in an unprecedented move, as both seek to overcome their present stagnation and move into a new era.

Last week, Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) named South African Justin Sammons as the country’s new head coach, with former Zimbabwe batsman Dion Ebrahim as his assistant. However, a professional like Sammons, who has been South Africa’s batting coach and highly-regarded within the circles, was always expected to make demands to give himself every chance to succeed in the Zimbabwe hot-seat.

On Thursday, it was announced that Sammons had brought along his men from home, to put himself in the best possible position in a role that even the likes of Davnell Whatmore and Dave Houghton have left without achieving much.

Ammons has hired Charl Langeveldt, his fellow countryman, to be Zimbabwe’s new bowling coach. Ex-Proteas pacer Langeveldt comes with a reputation, having also previously been in the same role with Bangladesh, Afghanistan and his native South Africa.

More South Africans have joined the Chevrons set-up.

Ravish Gobind gets the newly-created position of strategic performance coach, while Curtly Diesel comes in as strength and conditioning coach.

This is the first time any Zimbabwean team has loaded its coaching staff with so many experts from the same country.

It’s not peculiar though in professional sports.

It’s in fact the trend.

However, it is a first for Zimbabwean cricket.

But such measures had to be taken, in light of the low points we have hit.

Rugby has also gone ZimCricket’s way, as if they have shared notes.

South African Gert Smal, a former Springboks assistant coach, was announced on the same day as a consultant for Zimbabwe ahead of the forthcoming crucial Africa Cup in Uganda.

Smal brings along Senna Esterhuizen to become the Sables’ defence coach.

Joel Carew, another South African, will travel to Kampala as the forwards and scrum coach.

They will all work under the new head coach Piet Benade who, despite being Zimbabwean, cut his coaching teeth in the South African rugby system.

Well, jobs for the more illustrious neighbours, one could say! For me, however, if this is going to make our teams achieve deliberate play and a clear structure, I’m willing to give it a chance.

Over the years, I’ve heard clamours in this country for stronger ties with South Africa, the global sporting giant just across the border.

But we need to be taking the initiative, because it’s us who know where we are presently, and where we need to be.