Taylor return excites granny 62

HARARE - The return to Zimbabwe of ex-captain Brendan Taylor was celebrated by all and sundry within and outside cricketing corridors.

Taylor marked his return to domestic cricket with a century after scoring his 29th First Class ton in the first innings of Mid West Rhinos’ seven-wicket win over new boys Rising Stars in a Logan Cup match at Kwekwe Sports Club last week.

Among a legion of the wicketkeeper-batsman’s fans was Margaret Manatsa, a 62-year-old granny, who has worked at Zimbabwe Cricket-rented house in Newtown that has accommodated Mid West Rhinos’ players for the past 16 years.

Manatsa, who has four children and nine grandchildren, was in awe as Taylor scored 113 runs on his return to the domestic game.

“Taylor wakaipa (you are a marvel to watch) together with Vusa (Vusi Sibanda) they used to make up a good combination, ari kupiko Vusa? (where is Vusi?),” exclaimed Gogo Manatsa as she is commonly referred to as by the Rhinos cricketers.

The long-serving Rhinos staffer said Taylor’s departure had been a huge blow for franchise when he signed a three-year Kolpak contract with Nottinghamshire in the England Country cricket division.

“It was difficult to comprehend that Taylor was leaving us here at Rhinos and the country as a whole when he left for England because as a player he had done so much for both province and national team and his departure meant a vacuum was created which needed an able individual to fill the void,” Manatsa said.

“I have followed his cricketing career since he was still an ordinary youngster trying to work his way to the top here in Kwekwe up to the time he was appointed Rhinos captain and the national team.

“Just like every other cricket-loving Zimbabwean, I was overwhelmed with joy upon getting the news that he had decided to come back to Zimbabwe and finish off the journey he had temporarily cut short.”

Following her husband’s passing on in 2001, Manatsa had to look after her children Hapson, now 45, Ratidzo (41), Ngonidzashe (29) and Senzeni (27).

Her secret has always been hard work, dedication and honesty which is why she’s a highly-regarded member of the Rhinos backroom staff.

“Just like any field you need to be disciplined and there’s no substitute for honesty; you need to gain the trust of your employer and people you serve when you run a public office,” Manatsa said.

“For instance Solomon (Mire) left his chocolate bar on the window and here we have some mischievous monkeys who frequent this area and to avoid a potential disappointment, I placed the bar in his dressing table and immediately phoned the administrator (Admire Marodza) informing him of the move that I had taken so that he would cascade the information down to Solomon who was already at the match.

“I have made it a must that no bad record follows me and this is what all the house helps should strive to do, this is an equally rewarding job although many may look down upon it but I have managed to raise all my kids with the proceeds I got from this job.”

Marodza confirmed the Mire chocolate incident while also heaping praises on Manatsa as a dependable and reliable woman.

“The good thing about her and all the other people we work with is that they keep time and they stick to what you would have agreed on,” Marodza said.

“For me, I think this is the seventh year that we have been using this house and all this while she has always been involved with the day to day running of the house.

“She’s very loyal and trustworthy and even myself when I know that she’s on duty I do get a good night’s sleep and worry less about the boys at the house because I know they will be in good hands.”

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