Mangongo happy with new role

HARARE - Former Zimbabwe cricket national team coach Stephen Mangongo is delighted with his new role within the local game.

Mangongo was sacked last December after Zimbabwe’s disastrous tour of Bangladesh and replaced by Dav Whatmore before he was redeployed to the post of talent identification manager.

The cricket development stalwart, who is credited with the nurturing of many of the country’s prominent black cricketers, expressed gratification in working with fledgling cricketers once again during the Inter-franchise Age-Group tournament that took place over the weekend.

The event was staged at two venues across the capital — at Old Hararians Sports Club and Eaglesvale School.

The three-day tournament featuring the Under-16 and Under-19 teams from the country’s four franchises; Mashonaland Eagles, Matabeleland Tuskers, Mid West Rhinos and Mountaineers got into motion on Thursday and concluded on Saturday.

A development side from the disbanded franchise Southern Rocks of Masvingo province also took part in the tournament.

Since his sacking, Mangongo made his first public appearance in his new role at the junior tournament and looked at peace since development is his forte.

“It’s exciting working with the youths, working with the future of the country,” Mangongo said.

“My role is to identify talent from all age group teams (Under-14, Under-16 and Under-19) and to make sure that these young cricketers are given an opportunity to be highly coached and to be polished as well as to encourage them and create a pathway for them so that we don’t lose them to other sports disciplines or other countries.”

Mangongo was also impressed by Masvingo province but bemoaned the lack of game time the young cricketers were getting since the dissolution of Southern Rocks .

“It’s very good to see that we can get all the best age group players to come and participate in this tournament, it gives selectors and coaches an opportunity to come and assess the players,” he said.

“The standard has been very good, there’s been a hundred by Adam Keefe and there’s been some very good bowling especially the development boys from Southern Rocks have shown that they can play well; it’s a pity they don’t play enough cricket.

“By and large, it’s well done to ZC for organising this tournament and giving the youngsters an opportunity to showcase their talent.”

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