By Munyaradzi Madzokere
Under-rated cricket coach Shepherd Makunura, wrapped up his third consecutive Logan Cup title after his Mountaineers side dismantled Eagles by 10 wickets last weekend.
Yet he still hungers for more silverware.
Makunura’s dream is to coach the Zimbabwe cricket team and his CV is looking greener with each passing year.
But at the moment with the 2018/2019 Logan Cup in the bag, focus is on winning everything on offer this season.
The Sports Hub caught up with Makunura during the week as his champions played their final Logan Cup match, which was a mere academic exercise.
“I am very excited about the achievement (winning three titles in a row). As a coach or sportsman you always strive to win trophies because you are always judged by what you have won,” Makunura said.
“But we will not stop winning trophies. I am hungry, the guys are hungry and we want to achieve more. There is also the Pro50 and T20 tournaments still to come. I think with the work we have put in and the players we have, it’s not beyond us,” he added.
A former Takashinga Cricket Club player, Makunura is arguably the most successful local franchise cricket coach as he was part of the Southern Rocks technical team that also won the Metbank Pro40 tournament in 2011.
He also reached two finals with Mountaineers, losing the Pro50 final by nine wickets to Rising Stars last year as well as finishing runners-up in the last T20 event played in Zimbabwe.
Makunura joined Mountaineers when Rocks were disbanded about five years ago.
His ultimate dream is to coach the senior national team.
“I would definitely want to coach the national side one day. I think I have contributed fairly well at the grassroots level and also at franchise level. I know my opportunity will come and in the meantime, I have to continue doing my best where I am,” he said.
Makunura, who has coached the junior national teams as well as the Zimbabwe A side, was part of the technical team as batting coach when Zimbabwe toured Bangladesh late last year.
His coaching career took off in 2004 when he was asked to coach the national Under-14 side.
In 2007 he was given charge of the Zimbabwe Under-19s and coached the team at the World Cup in Malaysia the following year as well as at the 2010 version of the event.
The former St John’s prep school sports director was assistant coach to Douglas Hondo when Zimbabwe’s developmental side took part at the Africa Cup in 2017.
And last year he went to the Africa Cup as the head coach and Zimbabwe did well to win three out of four matches played.
But how did his cricket journey begin?
“It all started when I was in Grade 3 at Chengu Primary School in Highfield. Cricket then took me to Prince Edward on a scholarship and I also made the Zimbabwe Under-15 side in 1992,” revealed Makunura.
He went on to play for Glen Strugglers, Bionics and Winstonians before teaming up with the likes of Steve Mangongo, Givemore Makoni, Moses Chitare and Eric Chauluka to form Takashinga Cricket Club.
In short, cricket has given Makunura his life.
But apart from the fame, a bit of fortune and trophies, cricket also gave Makunura a wife.
Makunura’s wife Sinikiwe Mpofu is the assistant coach for the Zimbabwe women’s team, the side she also represented during her playing days.
“I actually met her when I was playing club cricket in Bulawayo. I think it’s very helpful to have a spouse who is in the same trade. She has been a huge pillar of strength.
I think she understands what comes with the job. She encourages me a lot and I think it’s a good partnership,” the 43-year-old coach said with a chuckle.
The couple is blessed with two sons Pharrell (10) and Tyrese (5).
The boys better not fancy any other professions other than cricket because their fate is sealed.
“They have no choice, they will definitely play cricket. Pharrell is already playing cricket in Masvingo,” Makunura said.