Connect with us

Support The NewsHawks






RENOWNED Zimbabwean cricket development coach Stephen Mangongo is basking in the glory of his country’s gold medal at the African Games in Ghana, but feels the integrity of the tournament was somewhat diminished in the eyes of the world by South Africa’s decision to send a severely weakened side to Accra.

A South Africa Universities XI that represented the continent’s best cricket-playing country was overpowered in the Ghanaian capital, failing to reach the knock-out phase of the tournament, won by neighbours and fellow Test nation Zimbabwe.

Mangongo opines here:

The rot started with South Africa, who sent a university select, thus undermining the tournament. This was a wrong message to the rest of the world. If we Africans don’t respect our own tournaments, how do we then expect the ICC [International Cricket Council] to take us seriously? Would India send a university team to the Asian Games? Definitely, withdraw of T20 status was very unfortunate as far as the growth of the game in Africa is concerned. In fact, it’s a slap in the face of the progress of African cricket.

Definitely South Africa left the tournament with egg on their face.

I believe they underestimated the game in the rest of Africa by sending that kind of team. They left with tails between their legs when they failed to qualify for the knockout stage.

 Definitely the quality of cricket in Africa is on the ascendancy judging from the tournament’s results.

I was pleasantly surprised by the skills factor in the bowling departments especially. The fielding was exceptionally high. It reminded me of a decade ago when Bangladesh built a fortress in their backyard and bowled well.

I saw this with Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. On those wickets, the East African nations have mastered discipline to bowl tight, wicket-to-wicket, and their spinners were on top of their game. They know areas to consistently hit those probing lengths. In fact, we got challenged properly. Nigeria have improved massively in technical sense, both bowling and batting. The East Africa bloc of Uganda at the top, then Kenya and Tanzania, are on a positive gradient. These teams have three to four players who can play very well and if you don’t raise the bar, they can take the game away from you. The weakness is that once you deal with the core players, the team’s performance also folds.

 The win by Zimbabwe brings back excitement to stakeholders. The spirits are invigorated. It sends a message that we do have talent, which just needs to be harnessed by creating conducive and enabling environments for these emerging players to blossom and become global competitors. I’m glad to see massive resources being channeled into the High Performance Programme by Zimbabwe Cricket.

Tashinga Musekiwa was phenomenal at the back end of innings with bat. Upfront Rodney Mupfudza and Johnathan Campbell displayed good techniques.  Fast bowling- wise, Trevor Gwandu, Takudzwa Chataira and Kuda Macheke bowled with pace – an area Zimbabwe needs to improve on its arsenal. The specialist twin trouble, Owen Muzondo and Wallace Mubaiwa, were outstanding. Therefore the future is bright as long we keep putting the hard yards, day in day out.

*Zimbabwean cricket development stalwart Stephen Mangongo was the country’s technical adviser at the African Games in Accra, Ghana.