Paul Munyuki Sports Reporter
FORMER Zimbabwe Cricket director and board member Cyprian “Supa” Mandenge believes the appointment of Makhaya Ntini and Marvan Atapattu into the Chevrons technical team is not what the game needs right now.
Mandenge feels Zimbabwe Cricket should instead invest in their grassroots structures, club cricket, provincial structures and franchise cricket for the national team to get the results that the country demands.
Yesterday, ZC announced that former South Africa pace bowler Makhaya Ntini was the new bowling coach of the Chevrons, taking over from Douglas Hondo, while former Sri Lanka coach Marvan Atapattu comes in as the new consultant batting coach.
Atapattu is filling the post left vacant after Andrew “Bhundu” Waller was removed from the national team set-up towards the end of last year.
He will join the Chevrons in their four-match Twenty20 series in Bangladesh this week.
In a statement, Zimbabwe Cricket yesterday indicated that Ntini will assume his duties on February 16 this year and Hondo has been re-assigned to Zimbabwe A, also as the bowling coach.
“Zimbabwe Cricket has made two appointments in the batting and bowling departments of the senior men’s national team.
“Former South African bowler Makhaya Ntini has been appointed on a two-year contract as assistant national team coach in charge of bowling.
“Former Sri Lanka coach Marvan Atapattu has been appointed as a consultant batting coach for the Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh this month,” read part of the statement from ZC.
ZC said they were looking at the possibility of engaging Atapattu on a long-term basis.
However, Mandenge feels ZC were not addressing the real problems facing the domestic game.
“Zimbabwe is one country that has changed coaches more than any other cricket playing nation over the past few years but we still have the same problem that of not getting the results and to me it means it is not about the coaches but the current system,” said Mandenge.
“As a nation we are not investing in player development, first we need to make sure that our domestic structures support the development of quality players and we can only do so if we have competitive cricket leagues.
“If we look at the way Chamunorwa Chibhabha performed in the national team following his stint in England then we will learn that competitive leagues are what will make us better as a nation, not changing coaches.
“At one point Zimbabwe cricket got to dizzy heights not because we were changing coaches but because we had sound developmental systems and the standards of the league always determine the quality of players we have.”
Mandenge is a former Harare Metropolitan Province chairman and was part of the Zimbabwe Cricket board for 11 years, seven of which he served as a director.
“I was on that board for 11 years and I felt that it was time to let others with fresh ideas take over but the problem is that there are a number of administrators who feel that they have to always be part of ZC decision-making arms,” said Mandenge.
“Everything else has changed, players have come and gone, coaches have been changed yet they are still part of the system and that tells us something about them in relation to game development.
“We need to put money in the right places and for the right reasons but that is not happening and, unfortunately, that destroys our sport.”
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Under-19 squad left Harare on Tuesday afternoon for a tour of Singapore — their final leg in preparation for the International Cricket Council Under-19 Cricket World Cup set for Bangladesh at the end of this month.
The tournament will run from January 22 to February 14.
Coached by Steve Mangongo, the side will play two 50-over matches against the Singapore Cricket Association XI on Friday and Sunday, at the Singapore Indian Association Grounds.
After Singapore, the squad of 15 players and six officials will go to Bangladesh for the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup tournament.
Zimbabwe are in Group C of the global youth One-Day cricket showcase with England, Fiji and the West Indies.
Their matches are in the port city of Chittagong.
Brandon Mavuta (captain), Trevor Chibvongodze, Jeremy Ives, Adam Keefe, Wesley Madhevere, Rugare Magarire, William Mashinge, Kundai Matigimu, Sydney Murombo, Richard Ngarava, Ryan Murray, Akshay Patel, Milton Shumba, Brendan Sly, Shaun Snyder
Coach: Stephen Mangongo
Manager: Admre Marodza
Batting Coach: Gregg Lamb
Bowling Coach: Prosper Utseya
Physio: Trevor Wambe
Fitness: Webster Karimanzira