Zim Cricket sack Mangongo

HARARE - Stephen Mangongo was yesterday sacked as Zimbabwe cricket coach just two months before the World Cup gets underway in Australia and New Zealand.

Mangongo's sacking comes after Zimbabwe’s worst tour in history, losing all three Tests and five ODIs in Bangladesh.

The horrific tour sparked off an uproar among followers of the game in the country, with many calling for drastic measures and a shake-up of the team’s technical structure. 

Talk of dressing room unrest under Mangongo was also rife due to the coach’s military style of management, which reportedly cost him the support and respect of players.  

One of the few highlights under Mangongo's short tenure was when Zimbabwe beat Australia at home in a triangular series involving South Africa – their first ODI win over the Aussies in 31 years.

Mangongo was appointed coach in July, replacing former international Andy Waller, who was shifted to the role of director of coaching.

In announcing the sacking at a press conference yesterday, ZC chairman Wilson Manase said Mangongo would be redeployed to youth development – where he is credited with nurturing a number of Zimbabwe’s current national players.

“Today (yesterday) we held a board meeting to consider those reports coming from the cricket committee and what we have come up with is that we need a bit of re-structuring of our technical team and in this regard we have relieved Stephen Mangongo of the position of national coach,” Manase said.

“You must understand that Stephen has been pivotal in the development of cricket. He identified a lot of talent…he is good in that area. We still believe Steve has some role to play and we have re-assigned him to deal with the Under-19s.

"He is good at identifying talent and ensuring we have good players, but I think at the national we should relieve him off his duties.

"I will not go into why we arrived at that decision. The findings of the cricket committee and the board are very confidential. They affect an individual. So you don't want to lay that bare in the public.”

Manase said a new coach will be announced after Christmas alongside a batting coach, but bowling coach Douglas Hondo will stay on.

Convenor of selectors Givemore Makoni, who has also come under heavy criticism in recent times, was spared the sack. He will however head a widened selection panel which also has deputy convenor Babu Meman, the new coach, the captain and Hondo.

Former Zimbabwe Test batsman Murray Goodwin has meanwhile been touted as favourite to take over from Mangongo.

Goodwin, 42, brought the curtain down on a 20-year professional career in September, leaving English county side Glamorgan at the end of the season.

Harare-born Goodwin played 19 Tests and 71 ODIs for Zimbabwe between 1998 and 2000 before moving back to Australia, where he moved with his family as a youngster.

"We are going to the World Cup we need to be astute in what we are doing,” Manase told reporters.

“What we have also done is we are identifying a national coach. He might be an international figure or a local person. We will conclude our process just after Christmas because the processes demand that some of these people have to fly in after Christmas. We will be letting you know in due course.”

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