'Doc' Machikicho leaves ZC

HARARE - Financially-troubled Zimbabwe Cricket continues to lose experienced staff with the resignation last week of well-respected and long-serving national team physiotherapist Amato Machikicho. 

While players and coaches have come and gone, the affable Machikicho had become part of the furniture in the Zimbabwe dressing room, having been a member of the team’s technical department for nearly two decades.

Popularly known in cricket circles as Doc, Machikicho joined ZC in 1996 as a traveling physio before he was confirmed permanent three years later. He has since joined an unnamed local medical service provider.

“Well, I left ZC with effect from the 1st of January but I did serve the association with a statement to that accord,” Machikicho told the Daily News yesterday.

“Basically it was for family reasons and just to move away and secure other opportunities elsewhere. But I have had a good experience with ZC which has been very fruitful and I’m really grateful for having been accorded such an opportunity. I leave with nothing but fond memories of the time well spent at ZC.”

After qualifying with a Bachelor of Science, Physiotherapy (Honours Degree) at the University of Zimbabwe in 1991, Machikicho’s first job was at Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo.

He initially got into sports at Highlanders Football Club in the city, and later Zimbabwe Saints.

“It was more out of the thrill of getting into the games for free and sitting on the team bench. It was there that I started getting the thrill of sports medicine,” said Machikicho in an interview in 2008.

He was then appointed chief physio for Zimbabwe during the 1995 All-Africa Games held in the country.

In 1996 before joining cricket, he went to the United States with Team Zimbabwe for the Atlanta Olympic Games as a team physio.

Asked about player attributes he admired in the Zimbabwean cricket team, Machikicho said in 2008:

“People like Andy Flower for his wonderful work ethics. When it was business it was business. Paul Strang also comes to mind in terms of hard work. And also Dave Houghton when he was a player.

“We also had pranksters such as Neil Johnson, Murray Goodwin and Heath Streak who always came up with things to spice the team with.”

The widely-travelled physio also spoke about the most horrifying injuries he had dealt with.

“I remember Murray Goodwin’s injury at Sabina Park in Jamaica fielding very close to the batsmen. Ridley Jacobs swung at a shortish ball which knocked him out. He had no feeling from shoulder going down after the blow. And because it was a head injury I feared for the worse. I had to get a specialist, and fortunately his sensation came back.

“Also Heath Streak once tore a ligament in his spine while jumping for a high ball. He went down in a heap. The neurologist said afterwards he had never seen anything like that because that ligament is never injured in any sport.”

Meanwhile, Matabeleland Tuskers administrator Samu Nkiwane has also left ZC to join the newly-established Heath Streak Academy in Bulawayo.

She had been with ZC since 2002 and also played a pivotal role with the franchise’s women cricket team.

“I left in December but I’m still doing the same job that I did at ZC but I will definitely miss the international matches, they were one of my best experiences during my time with the association,” said Nkiwane.

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