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Who’s Next On The Hot Seat?

WHO will be Zimbabwe’s next cricket coach?

This question came to prominence this week when Zimbabwe Cricket advertised for the job on its website.
It has since emerged that Walter Chawaguta, the incumbent coach, was only appointed on an interim basis when Robin Brown’s contract was not renewed in August. It was resolved then that the post for a substantive coach would then be advertised after three months.

The deadline for the applications is today, and the new coach is expected to lead the side in January when Zimbabwe are scheduled to tour Bangladesh.

This nature of Chawaguta’s contract was not known until this week, and it appears ZC could still have extended his contract had he given a good account of himself during Sri Lanka’s recent tour. But the whitewash defeat by the Asians in the five ODIs, and prior to that, defeat to Kenya by 95 runs in a tri-series in Nairobi in September, was hardly an impressive probation period for the 35-year-old coach.

The required coach needs to be “a holder of a recognized level 3 coaching certificate and must have coached at senior level for at least 5 years”, says the advert.

Again, there is barely anyone readily available, or willing to apply for the job, who meets these requirements.

ZC are unlikely to go for a foreign coach, unless if it’s someone from the Asian subcontinent.

IndependentSport is reliably informed that a few Pakistanis have shown interest.

On the local front, the last two national coaches, Kevin Curran and Robin Brown, meet the requirements.

Apart from coaching experience and qualifications, they were top players at international level in their days, but it’s down to whether they are willing to reapply or whether ZC want to rehire them. Also insert to that list Andy Pycroft, who was replaced as Zimbabwe “A” coach in August.

Stephen Mangongo, the current Zimbabwe “A” coach, is a dark horse, but there is nothing to separate him from Chawaguta.

From the advert, qualifications and coaching experience are being treated as requisites, but can easily be replaced by playing experience.

Herein lies another problem for Zimbabwe Cricket. Former players of note are not in the country, while others are committed elsewhere or have not been around sufficiently well enough to be considered.

The only former player with the right credentials who has maintained some sort of links with Zimbabwe cricket is Alistair Campbell, the former national team captain. He helped out with the coaching before the World Cup in the West Indies last year, and has done television commentary during Zimbabwe’s home series.

But again, the question is: does he want the job or does ZC want him?

Stuffed with unimpressive applications, ZC might have to identify their man outside the laid-down criterion.

*Meanwhile, the hearing in Tatenda Taibu’s case in the magistrate court on charges of assaulting ZC finance general manager Esther Lupepe was yesterday postponed to February 6 after the former Zimbabwe captain claimed he was being victimised for speaking out against ZC.

In his defence yesterday, Taibu, through his lawyer Jonathan Samkange, said the charges by Lupepe were being levelled to “deal with him” after he questioned the handling of funds and remuneration of staff and players by the association.

The court ordered Lupepe to produce ZC documents such as payrolls, sponsorship deals and International Cricket Council grants in its next hearing.

BY ENOCK MUCHINJO

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